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.

Most Recent Statements:

Surveillance Paradigm Fit For Analog Past

Nick Ashton-Hart’s opinion piece on government surveillance over the weekend for Circle ID has been viewed 1500 times and counting. He describes the needs of all Internet users regardless of nation or geographic location. He argues that all governments have a responsibility to not let surveillance get out of control and that responsibility does not…

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CCIA Signs Joint Letter Asking for Surveillance Transparency Legislation

The Computer & Communications Industry Association joined six dozen companies and associations in a joint letter to House and Senate Judiciary Committee leaders today to ask to move legislation to bring greater transparency to government surveillance programs. The letter praises provisions of both S. 1452, the Surveillance Transparency Act of 2013, and H.R. 3035, the Surveillance Order Reporting…

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CCIA Praises Facebook's New Transparency Report

CCIA congratulates Facebook on the release yesterday of their first transparency report. The report, which lists the numbers of government requests for information about Facebook users, will serve to increase users’ trust.  Reports such as these have become popular among web companies that store users’ data for them and Facebook’s report helps add to that growing body of information. The…

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CCIA Praises Facebook’s New Transparency Report

CCIA congratulates Facebook on the release yesterday of their first transparency report. The report, which lists the numbers of government requests for information about Facebook users, will serve to increase users’ trust.  Reports such as these have become popular among web companies that store users’ data for them and Facebook’s report helps add to that growing body of information. The…

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