Federal regulators are rethinking their approach to online privacy and security, reports the Wall Street Journal — asking academics, public interest groups, and industry executives to suggest ways to overhaul rules to better protect consumers. As part of the review, David Vladeck, the Federal Trade Commission’s new head of consumer protection, is considering whether to throw out current privacy protections that revolve around lengthy disclosure statements that consumers rarely read. What’s unclear is what the FTC would propose instead. The FTC already has signaled a more aggressive approach to policing online business practices. In June, the agency reached a settlement with Sears Holdings Corp. over a complaint that the retailer hadn’t told some customers how much it was tracking their online activities. The FTC required the company to stop the practice and destroy the data it had collected. The FTC’s fact-finding effort puts further pressure on internet companies and advertisers, which have been trying to stave off government intervention with self-regulatory efforts such as consumer education campaigns and more transparent privacy policies…

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