Internet Privacy:

Comparison of Federal Agency Practices With FTC's Fair Information Principles

GAO-01-113T: Published: Oct 11, 2000. Publicly Released: Oct 11, 2000.

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Linda D. Koontz
(202) 512-7487


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

This testimony compares federal agency Internet privacy policies with the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) fair information principles. The World Wide Web requires the collection of certain data, such as Internet addresses, from individuals who visit web sites. However, the collection of even this most basic data can be controversial because of the public's apprehension about what information is collected and how it could be used. FTC supports the following four fair information principles: notice, choice, access, and security. Although these principles apply to Internet privacy issues in the commercial sector, federal web sites are governed by specific laws designed to protect individual's privacy when agencies collect personal information. GAO found that all of the 65 federal web sites it analyzed collected personal identifying information from their visitors.

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