Can Reclaim Your Name Resonate Like Do Not Track?

FTC's Brill coins campaign slogan to push consumer control of data

What's in a slogan? To the Federal Trade Commission, which is trying to goad an industry into adopting voluntary guidelines on data privacy issues, a catchy phrase might offer a lot of value.

Take Do Not Track. The FTC made a lot of headway when it coined the term—a riff off Do Not Call—to advocate for stricter online privacy laws. Faced with new regulation, the advertising industry acted preemptively, and worked with the FTC to develop its self-regulatory online ad program that gives consumers the ability to opt-out of targeted ads.

Now FTC Commissioner Julie Brill has come up Reclaim Your Name, the slogan of her ongoing, year-old campaign calling for data brokers to give consumers access to their own data on a centralized website.

"Reclaim Your Name would give consumers the knowledge and the technological tools to reassert some control over their personal data, to be the ones to decide how much to share, with whom, and for what purpose—to reclaim their names," Brill said Wednesday in a speech to the 23rd Computers, Freedom and Privacy Conference in Washington. 

Since last year, data brokers' information collection and privacy practices have come under the microscope in Washington. Lawmakers in both the House and the Senate opened probes. The FTC also began an investigation but has yet to issue its report. 

That hasn't stopped Brill from pushing for a voluntary initiative from the industry.

For the past year, Brill has been meeting with data brokers trying to convince them to develop a one-stop online shop where consumers can access their data, make changes, and opt-out if the broker is selling the data for marketing purposes. She said a few leaders in the data broker business have expressed some interest.

It remains to be seen if a simple slogan can help Brill convince that industry to follow her lead. Perhaps the press will help her in her cause? 

"The ability to claim your name, or in the case of big data, Reclaim Your Name, is as American as Mom and apple pie," Brill said.

So are marketing slogans.