GAO Recommends Stiffer Penalties for Privacy Violations

The U.S. Federal Government should pass legislation protecting citizens’ privacy online, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office.

The GAO study referenced 101 privacy violations that had been referred to the FTC for enforcement, nearly none of them resulting in fines or penalties for offenders. All of the violations were associated with internet companies.

“In most of these cases, FTC did not levy civil penalties because it lacked such authority for those particular violations,” stated the GAO report. “Congress should consider developing comprehensive legislation on Internet privacy that would enhance consumer protections and provide flexibility to address a rapidly evolving Internet environment.”

The study was initiated by New Jersey representative Frank Pallone, Jr.

“This detailed GAO report makes clear now is the time for comprehensive congressional action on privacy that should include ensuring any agency that oversees consumer privacy has the tools to protect consumers. These recommendations and findings will be helpful as we look to develop privacy legislation in the coming months,” said Pallone in a statement.