eBay Responds to White House Privacy Proposal

The following statement was issued February 29, 2012 in response to the White House’s new privacy guidance. 

eBay Inc. agrees with the proposition that a comprehensive blueprint for online privacy is necessary to foster the continued explosive growth of the Internet.  With the White House's documented framework for “Consumer Data Privacy in a Networked World,” eBay believes that a strong foundation has been presented by the US executive branch of government,  which can be leveraged to benefit consumers and businesses alike.

The four key elements proposed in last week’s White House guidance include a consumer privacy bill of rights, a multi-stakeholder process to apply privacy rights to business, strong enforcement mechanisms and increased interoperability with international privacy regulations.

In the proposed Privacy Bill of Rights, the principles of transparency and control are principles to which eBay has subscribed for years.  One of eBay’s core principles is to empower consumers through increased access, choice, and control.  eBay's creation of "AdChoice," a method allowing users to easily opt out of targeted advertising, is one area where we already provide protection that should be widely offered to consumers.  eBay’s success is based strongly on trust of consumers and trust in our marketplace.  Innovation and growth depend on this type of trust, and maintaining consumer privacy is essential to continue the Internet’s current growth trajectory.

eBay welcomes a multi-stakeholder process so that industry can work with consumers in crafting a policy that enables trust on the Internet without stifling growth and innovation.  This multi-stakeholder approach is one of the reasons eBay worked with many different groups in support of the comprehensive privacy legislation introduced by Senators Kerry and McCain late last year.

International interoperability must be a critical element of any comprehensive privacy plan.  For businesses operating internationally today, there are more than 200 country laws that have to be considered.  A viewpoint that maintains globally consistent privacy baselines will help American businesses succeed.   In addition, US codified and enforced privacy principles will help businesses in the US gain certainty for international transactions.  The United States has always been a leader in personal protections and privacy principles, and our laws for the Internet Age should reflect this concern for personal freedoms and display the country’s leadership.