posted Oct 26, 2000

On Privacy, One Size Doesn't Fit All
Privacy from Companies
10/26/2000; 1:52:36 PM

'Lately, a majority of the members of the Federal Trade Commission want to set a uniform code of conduct on Internet privacy. That's a bad idea, and the White House and Congress have quite properly put it on hold. Right now, the FTC's function is to make sure that when a site publishes a privacy policy, it lives up to it. Otherwise, the FTC takes legal action. But a site need not have a privacy policy at all, under current law.

'The problem with a uniform code is that one size cannot possibly fit all on the Net. Some sites, for example, offer users a trade: tell us about yourself (your address, age, income, interests, shopping habits) either directly or through our monitoring of your activity on the site, and we will give you something in return -- perhaps discounts or access to extra information on the site. As long as users understand the conditions of their engagement with a particular site, they should be free to enter into any deal they want with that site.'


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