Representative Rick Boucher (D-VA), current head of the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, lost his reelection bid yesterday to Republican Morgan Griffith, the Majority Leader of the Virginia House of Delegates. Representative Boucher, widely recognized and respected for his legislative efforts in the areas of technology, telecommunications and privacy law, co-authored the CAN-SPAM Act and also introduced draft privacy legislation earlier this year. Congressman Boucher’s defeat leaves the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet panel without its top Democrat, and it is unclear who will fill that leadership vacancy.
The status of the draft privacy bill introduced by Representative Boucher is also unclear, although Representative Cliff Stearns (R-FL), who worked closely with Representative Boucher on the bill, stated that he “would like to see a bill” in the next Congress that “allows innovation to continue to flourish.” That bill may end up being the BEST PRACTICES Act, which was introduced by Representative Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) in July. Unlike the Boucher Bill, which was opposed by many companies, the BEST PRACTICES Act has garnered support from Intel, Microsoft and eBay, who wrote a joint letter to Representative Rush stating that they “support the bill’s overall framework” because it “gives flexibility to the Federal Trade Commission to adapt to changes in technology” and “strikes the appropriate balance by providing businesses with the opportunity to enter into a robust self-regulatory choice program.”
In the Senate, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal won his race against World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon. Senator-elect Blumenthal is known as an aggressive consumer advocate who filed the first lawsuit by a state attorney general under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, and is leading a coalition of 38 states in an investigation of Google Street View.