On the heels of FTC's report on web privacy, the U.S. Department of Commerce released its own findings on the state of online privacy and issued recommendations for how to address the growing privacy concerns of consumers while maintaining the Internet platform which supports creativity, innovation, economic growth and job creation. The Commerce Department offered U.S. lawmakers several guidelines aimed at achieving the objective above:
- Consider Establishing Fair Information Practice Principles comparable to a “Privacy Bill of Rights” for Online Consumers
- Encourage Global Interoperability to Spur Innovation and Trade
- Consider How to Harmonize Disparate Security Breach Notification Rules
- Review the Electronic Communications Privacy Act for the Cloud Computing Environment.
The Wall Street Journal called these proposals a "turning point," marking the administration's shift away from self-regulation in the online industry. The Journal also noted that future legislative action on this issue is likely to happen as soon as 2011, and that such legislation would enjoy rare bipartisan support in Washington.
Via the Journal:
It's unclear how strict a bill Congress would entertain. Sen. John Kerry, (D., Mass.), said he plans to incorporate the recommendations into legislation he is crafting for the next Congress.
Any bill would have to clear the Republican-controlled House. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R., Fla.), who worked on a draft privacy bill this year, said he agreed with the Commerce Department's goals but cautioned the administration against usurping Congressional power. "I welcome the input from the FTC and the Department of Commerce, but Congress is the most appropriate venue for online privacy," he said.
You can read the report here.
"U.S. Seeks Web Privacy 'Bill of Rights,'" The Wall Street Journal (December 17, 2010).