Federal Communications Law Journal, April, 2015, Vol.67(2), p.293(31)
As desktop PCs give way to smartphones, and as engineers embed everyday objects-like cars, eyeglasses, and HVAC systems-with the ability to sense, remember, and communicate information to anyone or anything with an Internet connection, enterprising companies extract enormous amounts of consumer data in an effort to squeeze as much value out of consumers' attention as possible. In many ways, data has become the new oil. While this trend promises to improve efficiency, lower costs, and create products and services that enrich consumers' lives, it also raises complicated and evolving privacy dilemmas. To address these dilemmas, the United States relies heavily upon the Federal Trade Commission to safeguard consumers without stifling innovation. Concerned that technological advancement may be leaving privacy safeguards behind, the FTC recently unveiled a new framework for redressing privacy's dilemmas while also acknowledging that limits to its authority prevent the agency from achieving the framework's goals. To overcome these limits, the agency asked Congress to consider enhancing its privacy enforcement powers, but this request has drawn criticism from those who fear that an omnibus or top-down approach would suppress innovation. In order to ensure that privacy safeguards keep pace with rapidly evolving technology without suppressing innovation, this Note argues that consumers' digital interactions should be recognized as the commercial exchanges of value that they are. Recognizing the value exchange that occurs when consumers search the web or download apps would create a flexible mandate for entities that collect consumer data to disclose the bargain's material terms by requiring informed consent. This, in turn, might lead to "simplified choice" and "privacy by design" as companies competed over the "price" charged to consumers. While more critical thinking needs to be devoted to the topic, recognizing consumers' digital interactions as the commercial exchanges of value that they are could substantiate the FTC's new privacy framework without relying on congressional action, creating a flexible regulatory solution that scales to meet privacy's evolving dilemmas.
Right Of Privacy -- Laws, Regulations And Rules ; Digital Communications -- Laws, Regulations And Rules