Yahoo! Submits Public Comments on the Department of Commerce’s Green Paper on Internet Privacy

In December 2010, the Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force distributed a Green Paper called, “Commercial Data Privacy and Innovation in the Internet Economy: A Dynamic Policy Framework” which details ‘initial policy recommendations aimed at promoting consumer privacy online while ensuring the Internet remains a platform that spurs innovation, job creation and economic growth.’

We applaud the DoC and the paper as a whole, and Yahoo! appreciates having the opportunity to offer our filed comments to ensure that considerations from all interested parties, including Internet companies like Yahoo! are heard.

While I won’t go through every aspect of the comments we filed today, I will give you a general sense of the overall themes seen throughout our submission:

  • Self regulation backed by strong enforcement will play an important role in industry and policy decisions as we move forward.
  • The creation of voluntary, enforceable codes of conduct is the best way to balance a host of different and sometimes competing interests implicated by the privacy debate.
  • Although the “Do Not Call” registry has been successful, replicating that in the form of a “Do Not Track” mechanism is much more complex and has the potential to significantly disrupt users’ online experiences.
  • The continuation of a Fair Information Practices and Principles (FIPPs) based approach to Internet privacy will help us move forward, but we must recognize that not all information is the same and therefore cannot be treated as such.

As one of the Internet’s first successful companies, Yahoo! has been a driving force in balancing innovation and personalized online services with built-in privacy protections.  For more than 15 years, we have embraced privacy by design — working to integrate transparency and control into our products from their inception.  Yahoo! continues to pride itself on being a leader in online privacy.

Providing our consumers with an enjoyable and personally relevant online experience, while simultaneously empowering them to protect their privacy with tools and security settings at the point of action, is a constant focus for Yahoo!  For a look at some of our privacy innovations, check out our Data Privacy Day post.

I look forward to being an active and vocal part of the consultative process as the Task Force moves ahead with its final policy considerations.

Anne Toth
Yahoo!, Chief Trust Officer

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