The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a set of guidelines and principles for handling customer information and protecting privacy.
The report, titled "Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change," lays out best practices firms should take in order to secure data online.
Among the main points in the report, which is being made available by the FTC as a PDF download, are suggestions for implementing "do not track" features and improved mobile security measures.
Based on a 2010 report, the guide also urges firms to offer greater transparency, particularly in regards to how customer data is stored and distributed.
"If companies adopt our final recommendations for best practices – and many of them already have – they will be able to innovate and deliver creative new services that consumers can enjoy without sacrificing their privacy," said FTC chairman, Jon Leibowitz.
"We are confident that consumers will have an easy to use and effective Do Not Track option by the end of the year because companies are moving forward expeditiously to make it happen and because lawmakers will want to enact legislation if they don't."
The FTC has in recent months assumed a leading role in the debate over online privacy and access to user data.
US trade officials recently struck a deal with Facebook which will force the social networking giant to undergo regular privacy and security audits for the next 20 years.
FTC officials could soon be launching investigations into alleged privacy violations at two of the largest companies in the industry.
US Senator Charles Schumer has asked the commission to probe Apple and Google over their handling of customer data.
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