Privacy Policy: An Environment for Innovation

By David Hoffman, Intel’s director of security policy and global privacy officer

Today, the Federal Trade Commission released its long-awaited reporton its review of U.S. federal privacy policy and regulation. Intel applauds the FTC for its leadership on privacy issues and we believe that the report will make valuable contributions to the ongoing debate about how best to protect consumer privacy. Intel also continues to strongly support the enactment of U.S. federal privacy legislation, as we believe that innovation requires a policy environment in which individuals feel confident that their privacy interests are protected.

The FTC’s process for undertaking its review of privacy policy in the U.S. has been a model for transparency and the solicitation of stakeholder views. I had the opportunity to participate in the three roundtables that the Commission held last year where I spoke about the need for federal legislation that incorporates the full set of fair information principles and that includes provisions encouraging “privacy by design” and organizational accountability. I echoed these themes in my testimonybefore the U.S. House of Representatives this summer.

Intel is pleased that the FTC report encourages companies to incorporate privacy protection into their design processes. We also support the report’s recognition of the valuable role that accountability can play in protecting privacy and security. We agree that a Privacy by Design model should ensure that privacy is included as a foundational component of the product and service development process. Further, accountability is important because it shifts the focus from an obligation on the individual to have to understand complicated privacy notices to an organization’s ability to demonstrate its capacity to achieve specified objectives. The accountable organization complies with applicable laws and then takes the further step of implementing a program ensuring the privacy and protection of data based on an assessment of risks to individuals.

The FTC’s important report comes at a crucial time in the development of computing. Intel sees computing moving in a direction where an individual’s applications and data will move as that person moves through his or her day. To manage these applications and data, the individual will use a wide assortment of digital devices, including servers, laptop computers, smartphones, tablets, televisions, and handheld PCs. Thus, it is necessary that individuals have trust in being able to create, process, and share all types of data, including data that may be quite sensitive, such as health and financial information. We encourage policymakers to heed the issues discussed in the FTC report and create a policy environment which creates that trust.

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