FEDERAL GOVERNMENT LETS BUSINESS TELL THEM WHAT TO DO
GOVERNMENT NOW TAKES ITS PRIVACY ADVICE FROM BUSINESS
STEVE LOHR, The New York Times, October 11, 1999, SECTION: Section C; Page 1; TITLE: Seizing the Initiative on Privacy; On-Line Industry Presses Its Case for Self-Regulation // acs-EE2001
And in a switch of roles of the kind so unremarkable in Washington, the person heading the industry alliance, as its legal counsel and spokeswoman, is Ms. Varney, the same F.T.C. commissioner who led the Government's efforts to safeguard privacy on the Internet.
Her success, privacy advocates say, has been as a Washington insider guiding a shrewd campaign of persuasion and not, as the industry alliance asserts, in prodding on-line companies to adopt meaningful privacy policies.
But even her critics admire her work. "Christine Varney has been enormously effective in her role -- she's a cheerleader for an industry self-regulatory approach that she believes in," said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a civil liberties advocacy group. "The problem is that you now have the Government taking its lead from industry on the privacy issue."
FTC WANTS PRIVATE BUSINESSES TO TAKE CARE OF INTERNET PRIVACY ISSUES
BETH BACHELDOR, InformationWeek, March 20, 2000 TITLE: Government: Net Privacy Isn't Our Problem // acs-VT2001
Orson Swindle, a commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission, offered a similar viewpoint. "We have to be very leery of exactly what we allow government to do," he said. The FTC has looked into several hundred Internet cases since 1994, he added, but most have involved deceptive business practices rather than privacy concerns.
Swindle and the other conference panelists said private industry must shoulder the responsibility of addressing consumers' concerns or else the government will be forced to step in.