450 Broadway
Redwood City, CA 94063

p. 650.556.5000

December 5, 2000

Federal Trade Commission
Room H-159
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC  20580

RE: Advisory Committee on Online Access and Security (ACOAS) -- Nomination, P004807


My name is Ted Wham and I am writing to request consideration for myself as a member of the FTC Advisory Committee on Online Access and Security (ACOAS).  After working successfully with FTC staff members in the development of draft regulations for the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA), I was contacted by FTC staff members Martha Landesberg, Laura Mazzarella, and Hannah Stires regarding this important committee assignment.

I am currently an employee of the At Home Corporation which owns and operates the world's largest broadband service (@Home), a range of the most popular Internet domains (Excite, Blue Mountain Arts, and others), and one of the largest third-party ad-serving firms in the industry (MatchLogic).  Collectively these businesses comprise the Excite@Home Network.  My responsibilities at Excite@Home encompass creation and oversight of the company's consumer privacy policies, all product and technology supporting our registration systems, all internal analytic resources that help segment customer groups by value, our traffic reporting systems, and all marketing efforts designed to offer Excite Members a superior product experience.

As a candidate member of ACOAS I would not surprisingly bring an industry -- and not a consumer-privacy-advocate -- perspective to the discussions.  I would only expect that a similar perspective would be offered from any other individual who comes from an industry source.  Clearly the FTC would need to build the Committee's membership to include individuals with both perspectives to reach balanced recommendations, something I would certainly expect would occur.  Given the strengths and weaknesses that are inherent in an industry-focused world view, however, I believe I can offer some unique insights and skills to the FTC's fact finding and recommendation development process that may be difficult to find in other candidates, specifically:

  • I am the most knowledgeable person about privacy at one of the top-three Internet portals.  I authored the Excite@Home consumer privacy policy, am the company's primary point of contact with industry self-regulation group TRUSTe, represent all privacy issues for the company, and even drafted the template language used in Excite@Home's contracts with partners that govern the conditions under which customer data can be shared and the limitations on the usage of that data.  If you want to know how a dominant Internet company views privacy issues and why we adopt the positions we do, I could provide outstanding insight.
  • I have an extensive knowledge of the techniques used to track consumer activity.  As manager of the internal groups that provide analytical services and site traffic reporting about customer activity, I am deeply immersed in the techniques used to track online customer usage.  This can be used to both illuminate what happens on the Internet today as well as help guide what proposed regulations present simple instead of daunting technical challenges to the industry.
  • I understand the business imperatives that are driving data collection and dissemination efforts.  As manager of the company's programs that are designed to offer greater degrees of personalization to customers in exchange for greater levels of personal information disclosure, I can provide a unique perspective as to why sites believe they need to take the data collection steps they do in order to be successful in the marketplace.  Having this insight will help guide the FTC's regulatory process so that any proposed actions are not inconsistent with the fundamental economics required for the industry to survive.
  • I am a recognized expert on the issues that ACOAS will be addressing.  I have been published in industry trade journals, am a frequent speaker at trade conferences, and was even profiled in a recent article entitled "New Jobs For The New Economy" where my previous role as a "New Metrics Analyst" was highlighted.  I think the FTC would get the expertise of someone who provides true insight as perceived by others in the industry.

I would truly be interested in participating in the Committee's efforts.  I believe I could bring valuable strengths to the group's efforts and am flattered to be considered.  I look forward to your positive response.

Thank you for your consideration,


Ted Wham
Director, Membership