The Federal Trade Commission plans to make consumer privacy rights a higher priority, according to a top official.
The FTC's director of consumer protection, Howard Beales, said Thursday that his outfit is gearing up to bring more privacy-related cases against Internet operators, with one expected in the coming weeks.
"Watch the space," he said to an audience of privacy officers and executives attending the three-day Privacy Futures conference here.
Consumer privacy issues exploded nearly five years ago when Internet usage and e-commerce reached a tipping point. Many online companies suffered growing pains trying to wield powerful new technology that could easily track customers and compile dossiers on their surfing and shopping habits. Unaware of these practices, consumer perceptions gradually shifted from a feeling of general anonymity on the Web to one of being watched.
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