Jon Leibowitz

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s chief privacy agency, issued a staff report recommending ways that key players in the rapidly expanding mobile marketplace can better inform consumers about their data practices. The report makes recommendations for critical players in the mobile marketplace: mobile platforms (operating system providers, such as Amazon, Apple, BlackBerry, Google and Microsoft), application (app) developers, advertising networks and analytics companies, and app developer trade associations. Most of the recommendations involve making sure that consumers get timely, easy-to-understand disclosures about what data they collect and how the data is used

Google has begun hiring for a crack team of data experts to help resolve privacy complaints, following the $22.5 million fine it had to pay the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) after issues relating to the Safari browser. News that the search giant is recruiting a new privacy division codenamed "red team" broke last week when Google posted a job post looking for data engineers. "As a data privacy engineer at Google you will help ensure that our products are designed to the highest standards and are operated in a manner that protects the

Google Inc. has agreed to pay a record $22.5 million civil penalty to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it misrepresented to users of Apple Inc.’s Safari Internet browser that it would not place tracking “cookies” or serve targeted ads to those users, violating an earlier privacy settlement between the company and the FTC. The settlement is part of the FTC’s ongoing efforts make sure companies live up to the privacy promises they make to consumers and is the largest penalty the agency has ever obtained for a violation of a Commission order.

Facebook may be preparing a membership option for children under 13, allowing them to access the social network under parental supervision, according to a report. The new option will allow children under 13 to have accounts linked to those of their parents, the Wall Street Journal says. Parents will be able to control who their children add as friends and which apps they use. The new features may also allow Facebook to charge parents for games and entertainment their children access. Facebook told Mashable it is currently exploring options for younger users

The Federal Trade Commission testified before Congress about the agency’s efforts to protect consumer privacy, including the FTC’s support for implementation of a “Do Not Track” mechanism that would allow consumers to control the tracking of their online activities across websites, and other approaches recommended in its recent privacy report. In delivering Commission testimony before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said the current time is a “critical juncture” for consumer privacy and described the FTC’s recent privacy report, including its call for final implementation of a Do Not Track mechanism.

In the ongoing controversies over behaviorally targeted marketing, a new front was opened unexpectedly last week by the Federal Trade Commission: From now on, list managers, brokers, aggregators and other sellers of data are as much on the hook for safeguarding private information as advertisers. In the FTC's final report issued March 26, “Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change,” the commission for the first time specifically criticized the privacy protection practices of “data brokers,” its term for companies that compile sales contact information and sell those lists to marketers

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