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:

Online Privacy, Security Action This Week

For those who don’t keep as close an eye on privacy, the past week has seen a flurry of activity on a number of privacy related fronts from the US Congress. Topics have included cybersecurity, government surveillance, and the Do Not Track process. Most of these conversation are obviously still ongoing, but a summary after…

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CCIA Praises Introduction of GPS Act

Tech companies are welcoming legislation introduced today to update electronic privacy laws that were written before most people carried cell phones. The GPS Act introduced in both the House and Senate would fix a geolocation privacy loophole that curbs both civil liberties and the growth of this industry. The following comments on the GPS Act…

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Prospects of ECPA Reform

This past Monday was Data Privacy Day and to mark the occasion CCIA CEO Ed Black posted a piece to Huffington Post on the need for reform of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which currently allows government access to email and other content stored with third parties online without the judicial protection of a warrant. That piece…

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