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Internet Privacy Unit

On January 28, 2013, Data Privacy Day, Attorney General Gansler announced the formation of an Internet Privacy Unit. This Unit monitors companies to ensure they are in compliance with state and federal consumer protection laws, including the Maryland Personal Information Protection Act and the federal Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which, in most cases, restricts companies from collecting personal information of children under 13 years old. The Unit also examines weaknesses in online privacy policies and works alongside major industry stakeholders and privacy advocates to provide outreach and education to businesses and consumers to broaden awareness about privacy rights so they are more equipped to manage online privacy challenges. The Unit will pursue enforcement actions where appropriate to ensure consumers' privacy is protected.

Consumer Guide to Protecting Privacy Online

As part of Attorney General Gansler's continuing education efforts on Internet privacy, the Internet Privacy Unit has created a web-based Consumer Guide to Protecting Privacy Online. This Guide helps explain what "personally identifiable information" is, how it is collected and treated online, and how you can protect it, offering links to the state and federal laws that set out your online privacy rights. It also offers tips for being a privacy-savvy user of Internet Web sites and services and Internet-connected mobile devices. The Guide was created in collaboration with the Future of Privacy Forum, a non-profit think tank that seeks to advance responsible data practices, with an advisory board comprised of leading figures from industry, academia, law and advocacy groups. We hope you find it to be a valuable resource. Click here for a printable version of the Guide. Guide cover image

Children's Online Privacy Workgroup

The OAG Children's Online Privacy Workgroup was created by statute in spring 2013. The statute directs the Office of the Attorney General to "convene and direct a workgroup to examine issues relating to the protection of children's privacy while using the Internet and mobile applications." The issues to be examined included the nature and extent of data collected about children through online advertising, the current federal and state regulatory landscape for online data collection affecting children, and industry and consumer best practices. The Attorney General convened the Workgroup in June 2013, and a final report was issued on December 30, 2013. A copy of that report is available here: http://www.oag.state.md.us/reports/copw.pdf

Additional Resources

For additional resources on Internet privacy and related issues, like Internet safety and identity theft, we encourage you to explore the following pages on our website:

Also, several nonprofit organizations offer educational tools designed to help consumers and their families navigate the Internet in ways that protect their privacy and safety. These include the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and Common Sense Media, among others. Some links to their educational offerings are below:

 
 

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