Principles on Online Privacy

Principles on Online Privacy

Principles on Online Privacy

The American Legislative Exchange Council acknowledges that a market environment is essential for future success of the Internet. The proposed set of policies accounts for new technologies and tools that effectively empower consumers to protect their privacy. A consumer and private-sector-driven approach via self-regulation avoids undue regulatory burden that would threaten a thriving electronic marketplace.

The American Legislative Exchange Council recognizes that the Internet has flourished due in large part to the unregulated environment in which it has developed and grown. Self-regulation, industry-driven standards, individual empowerment and a market environment generally promise greater future success than intrusive governmental regulation.

In order to secure the economic growth and vitality of the electronic marketplace, the American Legislative Exchange Council has developed the following principles regarding the preservation of online privacy in a variety of contexts:

I. The private sector should lead. For the information economy and online culture to flourish, the private sector must continue to lead through self-regulation. Innovation, expanded services, broader participation, and lower prices will arise in a market-driven arena, not in an environment burdened by over-regulation.

II. Government should avoid undue restrictions on the information economy. Parties should be able to buy or use online services with minimal government interference. Unnecessary regulation of online activities will distort development of the information marketplace by decreasing the supply and raising the costs of products and services for the consumer. Governments already possess tools to address fraud and other harms to consumers. Additional regulation is unnecessary.

III. The marketplace is working. The market has responded favorably and swiftly to consumer concerns regarding the collection and use of personal information.  Innovators have crafted tools that let users block cookies, advertising, the tracking of Internet surfing behavior, and third party sharing of information. The market is responding to consumer concerns, without burdensome government regulation.

IV. Individuals should be directing their privacy choices. The most effective privacy policies provide notice, choice, security, and access, as described in the Fair Information Practice Principles. Online sites and services should be encouraged to offer more options along these lines and individuals should be free to select the policy that best fits their needs and take responsibility for their online activities.

Approved by ALEC Board of Directors on October 22, 2012.