The Importance of Trust on the Internet

The rapid growth of the Internet economy has provided educational, economic, and social benefits to consumers and businesses. But with these growing benefits comes growing unease about how consumer's personal information on the Internet is collected, used, and protected.

Preserving consumer trust is essential to the sustainability and continued growth of the Internet economy. Data privacy day provides an opportunity to reflect on the importance of privacy policies that promote online trust and broadband use.

Whether making purchases online, communicating with family members, or conducting business - consumers must know that they have control over their personal information. As innovative new applications and services are developed, it is important that users know that their information is safe and that providers have clear rules about how to respect individual privacy.

As more and more personal data is collected on the Internet, policy makers need to ensure the consumer trust that is an essential foundation of the digital economy and broadband use.

The Commerce Department's Internet Policy Task Force, in which NTIA plays a leading role, released a privacy "green paper" in December. The report proposes an approach to privacy that can promote innovation while increasing consumer trust, including committing to baseline privacy principles and convening stakeholders to craft enforceable codes of conduct to implement those principles. Those codes of conduct would then be adopted as binding commitments by companies to be legally enforced by the Federal Trade Commission.

The report offers recommendations and poses further policy questions - and today is the deadline for public comment on the report. This feedback will further contribute to our work to create a dynamic privacy policy framework that bolsters consumer privacy while ensuring the Web remains a platform for innovation, jobs, and economic growth.

We look forward to continued progress on our privacy policy-making efforts. Our work will continue to reflect the importance of Internet trust that is critical to both the continued success of the Internet economy and to maximizing all the economic and social benefits that the Internet has to offer to its users.

For more on the DOC's privacy report see: