The Centre for Information Policy Leadership at Hunton & Williams has issued the following statement about the U.S. Department of Commerce’s “Green Paper” released on December 16:

The Centre for Information Policy Leadership congratulates the Department of Commerce on the release of its Green Paper, entitled “Commercial Data Privacy and Innovation in the Internet Economy: A Dynamic Policy Framework,” and commends the Department for the extensive outreach and research it conducted to inform the document. 

The Green Paper poses many questions for public comment on various aspects of the report.  The Centre will file comments to respond to the inquiry, focusing primarily on policy and process areas that would benefit from the Centre’s expertise developed through its work with business, advocates and international experts.  Among other issues, the comments will address two areas:

  • First, the Green Paper makes extensive recommendations about the revitalization of Fair Information Practice Principles (“FIPPs”) and development of voluntary, enforceable privacy codes of conduct in specific industries that would facilitate implementation of those principles.  As the Centre has recommended co-regulation, application of the full complement of FIPPs and establishment of a Privacy Policy Office, it finds these ideas compelling.  The Centre believes recommendations in the Green Paper about how fair information practices and codes of conduct would be developed and implemented deserve serious consideration.  The Centre’s comments will identify limitations of the suggested approach and provide possible alternatives.
  • Second, the Centre’s comments will address the work on accountability carried out by the Galway Project.  The Green Paper cites the document issued by the Galway Project as endorsing a “private right of action in addition to government or industry enforcement when companies violate their privacy policies.”  The Galway document and the work of the Centre’s Accountability Project reflect the efforts of a broad array of interested stakeholders, and neither makes such a recommendation.  While the Galway document and the work of the Accountability Project suggest consensus that the individual should be able to have complaints heard and disputes resolved, neither have reached consensus that the individual should have a private right of action.  The Centre will clarify this point further in its comments to the Department of Commerce.

The Centre will address these issues, as well as others raised in the proposed framework.  The Centre looks forward to participating in the next phase of the Department of Commerce process through its responses to questions raised in the Green Paper.