As the digital economy expands, more attention is being paid to the impact of data processing on consumers and how to maintain responsible and trustworthy treatment of personal information. Companies have responded to shifting consumer views and expectations about how data is collected and used online by developing new data transparency tools and controls. Policymakers are also seeking ways to ensure that data controllers exercise fair information practices to protect and empower users while also encouraging innovation and protecting economically vital flows of data, particularly across borders.

CCIA’s View

New technologies and data practices have stressed the traditional U.S. sectoral approach to protecting consumer privacy. In response, Congress should adopt a federal baseline consumer privacy law to ensure that consumers’ personal information is handled responsibly no matter where it is collected or who is processing it. This framework should set consistent transparency requirements, consumer controls, and accountability measures for data controllers, while empowering the Federal Trade Commission to carry out robust enforcement. Such a framework should be risk-focused, technology-neutral, and provide safe harbors and flexibility for organizations to make adjustments according to the needs of individuals and evolving technology.

Developing comprehensive and durable privacy rules requires balance. The desire to bring the power of government to bear on the issue is a strong one, but it must be set against the need to encourage innovation, unlock the incredible social value of big data, and not to infringe upon related values such as the freedom of speech. Overly prescriptive or onerous regulation risks creating high barriers to entry for new companies and may even prohibit the creation of beneficial new technologies and privacy protective techniques and services.

CCIA Welcomes New EU-U.S. Data Transfer Framework

Brussels — Negotiators announced a political agreement today on a new “Safe Harbour” framework that will allow for commercial data flows between Europe and the United States.  Commissioner Jourová presented the agreement to the College of Commissioners today which gave it its “green light”. The Article 29 Working Party will examine the new agreement, called…

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House Judiciary Subcommittee Examines Data Flow Policies, Other Digital Trade Barriers

Washington — House Judiciary IP & Internet subcommittee chairman Darrell Issa opened Tuesday’s hearing titled “International Data Flows: Promoting Digital Trade in the 21st Century” by saying policies blocking data flows could lead countries to other unfair trade practices like demanding source code or trade secrets.  He said restricting Internet data from flowing across national…

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UK Proposes Bill To Increase Government Surveillance

Brussels — The United Kingdom today presented the draft Investigatory Powers Bill which raises serious concerns about privacy rights and government surveillance. The bill will require Internet and social media companies and Internet Access Providers to retain “bulk collection” of large volumes of personal communications data for access by police, security services and other public…

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CCIA, Civil Rights Groups Object To Intelligence Provision Requiring Companies To Report Suspicious Activity To Law Enforcement

Washington — The Computer & Communications Industry Association joined civil rights and free speech advocates in a letter expressing concern that broad language in a provision in the Senate version of the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2015.  The provision would require online communications services to report potential terrorist activity, and could subject many innocent people…

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