NEGATIVE CONSUMER/INTERNET SOLVENCY 410
OPT-IN PROPOSALS ARE UNDESIRABLE
OPT IN PRIVACY POLICIES THREATEN BUSINESS INTERESTS
Neil Munro, The National Journal, MARCH 4, 2000 SECTION: CONGRESS; Pg. 702; TITLE: A Little Privacy, Please // acs-VT2001
Industry is particularly concerned about possible congressional support for "opt-in" policies that would force companies to get a customer's explicit permission before his or her data could be transmitted to affiliates, subsidiaries, or outside corporations.
Such concerns may be warranted. During last year's debate on sweeping legislation to modernize the financial services industry, Shelby and Democratic legislators inserted unprecedented restrictions on banks' use of customers' data. Financial industry lobbyists are now worried that the Treasury Department will approve even tougher rules in implementing the new financial services law. Similarly, lobbyists for the health care industry are worried about medical-privacy rules being drafted by the Health and Human Services Department.
OPT IN VS. OPT OUT PRIVACY POLICIES EXPLAINED
Doug Bedell; KNIGHT RIDDER NEWS SERVICE, The San Diego Union-Tribune, March 28, 2000, SECTION: COMPUTER LINK;Pg. 4 TITLE: Surfer beware: Web privacy policies called inadequate // acs-VT2001
EPIC also examined whether the Web sites offered "opt-in" or "opt-out" policies for direct marketing contacts.
Opt-in mechanisms, favored by most privacy groups, allow Web sites to collect and use personal information only if the consumer gives explicit permission.
Opt-out, on the other hand, allows companies to make use of information unless consumers notify the firm that they do not want their personal information collected or used.
For example, EPIC cites CD Universe's opt-in policy, which says: "If you answered 'Yes' to the question 'May we occasionally send you e-mail promotions,' we keep you up-to-date via e-mail."
J. Crew has an opt-out policy: "We occasionally make our customer list available for one-time use by a few carefully screened firms -- should you prefer not to get their mailings, please let us know."
Twenty-four sites solicited opt-in consent before collecting and using personal information from consumers, according to the Surfer Beware survey's raw results.
"Anonymity, which remains crucial to privacy on the Internet, is being squeezed out by the rise of electronic commerce," EPIC reported.
"Industry-backed self-regulation has done little to protect online privacy."