While commending the value of online advertising, a representative of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said that "how much data is collected about consumers, how it is stored, and how it is used, raise significant privacy concerns. And while these are definitely 21st century conundrums, the principles with which the FTC protects consumer privacy date back over 100 years, to concerns first raised by Louis Brandeis. Consumers must be given reasonable notice of and control over how their personal data is collected and used – and that applies regardless of how many zettabytes of data we are talking about."
Speaking at the Better Business Bureau’s National Advertising Division Annual Conference on September 28, 2015, FTC Commissioner Julie Brill lamentedthat "the Federal Trade Commission has pushed for more consumer control over third-party data collection online" for more than 15 years, and yet, "here we are, in 2015, and consumers’ still do not have an adequate means to opt-out of data collection. It is more clear than ever that self-regulation needs to keep up with the times: after all these years, consumers still don’t understand what’s happening with their personal information, and they continue to struggle to control targeted advertising and data collection."
With the modern "explosion" in techno-marvels like social media, the Internet of Things, mobile devices, and Big Data analytics, consumers have reaped great benefits beyond what could have been imagined even a few years ago, but also "unimaginable" threats. Brill concluded her talk emphasizing the FTC's bread and butter principles of "truth in advertising, consumer control over their data, and privacy protection," as forces that still apply even as technology gallops ahead. "In these times, hanging on to what has served us so well in the past is perhaps the best way to ensure we can adequately protect consumers in what will certainly continue to be a challenging future."