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DMA Aims to Head Off Backlash Over FTC Report

In a move apparently aimed at heading off legislative backlash over a Federal Trade Commission report on industry self-regulation efforts surrounding consumer privacy fears on the Internet, the Direct Marketing Association on June 1 released an online privacy report of its own.

The DMA’s report said that a May sweep of the 100 most-frequented children’s Web sites found that 70 percent of them have posted privacy statements regarding their information practices online, up from 34 percent in January.

The announcement comes amid increased pressure from the government for the industry to move faster to quell consumer fears over personal data collection and use. It also comes just before the FTC releases a report June 4 detailing the results of its March sweep of 1,200 random Web sites to see whether they are taking steps to protect consumer privacy.

“Businesses online are responding to the administration’s call for action and we urge the policy makers when they receive the FTC report to look at where the industry is today, not where it was three months ago when the FTC did its Web scan,” said DMA president and CEO H. Robert Wientzen.

According to the DMA, Wientzen has been personally contacting the top 100 sites that do not have privacy policies posted.

“There has been an aggressive effort under way by the DMA to educate businesses about the need to post their privacy policies online and the privacy landscape is changing almost overnight,” Wientzen said.

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