On March 16, 2011, U.S. Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information Lawrence Strickling called on Congress to enact robust, baseline legislation to “reform consumer data privacy in the Internet economy.” Speaking before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Assistant Secretary Strickling emphasized the Department of Commerce’s support for a legislative proposal that would adopt many of the recommendations of the “Green Paper,” a Department report authored last December.
In prepared remarks, Assistant Secretary Strickling stated, “Having carefully reviewed all stakeholder comments to the Green Paper, the Department has concluded that the U.S. consumer data privacy framework will benefit from legislation to establish a clearer set of rules for the road for businesses and consumers, while preserving the innovation and free flow of information that are hallmarks of the Internet.”
The proposed legislation would include several key elements, such as:
- Enacting a baseline “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights” that invokes several Fair Information Practice Principles discussed in the Green Paper;
- Implementing online Codes of Conduct developed through the input of diverse stakeholders, including individuals from government agencies and the commercial, consumer advocacy and academic sectors;
- Empowering the Federal Trade Commission to enforce the legislation’s provisions while creating industry incentives for compliance; and
- Establishing limiting principles to avoid duplicative and cumbersome privacy legislation while achieving a clear statutory regime.
View a copy of Assistant Secretary Strickling’s prepared testimony.