"In June 1998 the Federal Trade Commission issued Privacy Online: A Report to Congress (1998 Report), an examination of the information practices of commercial sites on the World Wide Web and of industry's efforts to implement self-regulatory programs to protect consumers online privacy. Based in part on its extensive survey of over 1400 commercial Web sites, the Commission concluded that effective self-regulation had not yet taken hold. In both the 1998 Report and in subsequent testimony before Congress, the Commission raised concerns about protecting the privacy of children's personal information online and recommended that Congress pass legislation to address these concerns. In its testimony, the Commission also raised concerns about the progress of industry self-regulation, but noted that industry leaders had indicated their commitment to work toward self-regulatory solutions. Accordingly, the Commission did not recommend legislative action in the area of online privacy for consumers generally, and instead urged industry to focus on developing and implementing broad-based and effective self-regulatory programs. In the ensuing year, there have been important developments both in the growth of the Internet as a commercial marketplace and in consumers and industry's responses to the privacy issues posed by the online collection of personal information. The Commission has examined these developments and now presents its views on the progress made in self-regulation since last June, as well as its plans to encourage industry's full implementation of online privacy protections."
Federal Trade Commission: http://www.ftc.gov/