By Angelique Carson, CIPP/US

NationalJournal reports on yesterday’s Commerce Department meeting aimed at developing voluntary industry codes of conduct to improve online privacy. The livestreamed event focused on providing consumers with more transparency as the first part of the Obama administration’s effort to encourage stakeholders to work together to develop the codes.

The meeting had participants in attendance and dialed-in suggest focus-points for the code and then asked them to vote in order to rank priorities.

Some at the meeting expressed frustration that the event’s focus was too narrow, with the ACLU’s Chris Calabrese saying, “Discussion of mobile transparency is simply not sufficient.”

Christopher Wolf, leader of the privacy practice at Hogan Lovells and co-chair of the Future of Privacy Forum, told the Daily Dashboard that yesterday’s meeting was a great start in the process.

“Diverse views were aired and the stage was set for the real work to come. With this many interested and knowledgeable people of good will, the stage is set for progress.”

Sidley Austin’s Alan Raul said while the event was promising and the Commerce Department should be applauded, there was a “good deal of frustration as to what process will be followed to make progress,” and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration “would be well served to provide a set of expectations, a timetable and perhaps even a forum to facilitate progress.”

Raul added that the stakeholders “should now step up to identify the core facts, problems and critical issues that should be addressed in a mobile privacy code of conduct; identify possible solutions and responses; assess the costs and benefits to consumers, innovation and on competition of taking different approaches and actions; task working groups to develop and draft language for consideration by the broader group; agree on a process to ensure full consideration by the broader stakeholders group, and then proceed to elaborate a plan for adoption and implementation of the code.”

John Verdi, director of Privacy Initiatives at the Department of Commerce, said the department “appreciated the participation from stakeholders and thought the meeting was very successful.  We expect to hold the next in-person meeting in August. Next week, we plan to publish the lists of discussion elements raised by the stakeholders, as well as the feedback from the non-binding polling.”


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