As we interact online, we leave a breadcrumb trail of data – both personally identifiable and anonymized. This information can be pulled straight from data shared – name, age, or address – or can be extracted from browsing habits and usage patterns. So what restraints are put in place to stop unchecked collection and use of this data?
One touchstone used by authorities in determining data-related policies and definitions is the concept of “unfairness.” This term is used prominently in the FTC Act and is part of the fabric of consumer protection in the United States. In addition, unfairness is being used in policymaking and enforcement efforts to determine what types of data collection, storage or use may be impermissible because conducted or structured in such a way that do not adequately protect consumers from harm.