eBay’s Global Privacy Leader Talks Privacy and Mobile Innovation with Congress

June 19, 2012 – Today, Scott Shipman, eBay’s Global Privacy Leader and Associate General Counsel, traveled to Washington, D.C. to testify before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet. Scott was invited to participate in the hearing to discuss the latest innovations and trends in global commerce and to discuss what eBay Inc. is doing to protect consumers’ privacy. You can read Scott’s full testimony here. Below are Scott’s thoughts following the hearing:

First, I’d like to commend Chairman Goodlatte, Ranking Member Watt, and the other members of the Subcommittee for holding this important hearing.  You don’t have to be in the privacy field to know how important this issue is– privacy matters to every one of us.

The Subcommittee has taken a smart approach to these challenging issues by inviting other privacy leaders, such as TRUSTe, ACT, and Professor James Grimmelmann, to provide experience and insight into how the privacy landscape and consumer expectations are rapidly evolving. Gathering insight from a variety of voices will help ensure that public policy strikes that delicate, yet critical balance between strong consumer protections and innovation.  

At eBay Inc., privacy is part of our corporate DNA. We recognize that the success of our company has been built on a foundation of consumer trust and confidence. And one of the main ways we work to earn and maintain consumer trust is by being transparent, responsible stewards of our customer’s personal information.

We have made privacy protections a fundamental building block of our products and services. The very foundation of PayPal is privacy and security.  PayPal allows consumers to make online payments safely and securely without exposing their personal information. Today, PayPal continues to offer consumers and merchants creative payment solutions that help protect their sensitive data – whether it’s online or on their phone.

In addition, the prevalence of mobile technologies has exploded over the past few years and the Subcommittee was very interested in learning about how eBay Inc. is approaching privacy on this technological frontier.

eBay users know that we are doing some really cool and exciting things in the mobile space. We have rolled out new products and services that enable our users to buy, sell and pay on their mobile devices.  But more than just offering cutting-edge services, we are building mobile applications that offer the same levels of transparency, choice, and privacy protection as our legacy Internet platforms.

A great example is WHERE. WHERE is a mobile app that provides personalized, hyper-local recommendations, offers, and deals to millions of mobile consumers. More than 120,000 retailers, brands and small merchants use these services daily to reach new audiences and deliver real-time foot traffic to their doorstep. And for consumers, WHERE helps users discover, save, and share their favorite places by putting the best local information at their fingertips and offering great deals from nearby businesses.

This is exciting technology that is delivering value to consumers and merchants. But we know how important it is to make sure that consumers have the choice to decide how and when their information is being stored and used. That is why eBay Inc. has made it a standard practice that all consumers must opt-in to turn on geo-location for all of eBay Inc. mobile applications.

Again, I appreciate the opportunity to participate in this important hearing.  eBay Inc. looks forward to continuing to work with the Congress and the Administration on privacy initiatives. For more information regarding our privacy efforts, please check out eBay’s Privacy Center or email privacy.office@ebay.com.