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.

Big Week For Online Privacy Initiatives

Yesterday was a big day for privacy as the White House released its white paper on consumer privacy, and simultaneously a group consisting of nearly all of the online advertising companies announced that they would begin work to recognize the Do-Not-Track header offered as a privacy feature by some web browsers. We’re happy to see…

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Thoughts On Information Sharing As Congress Introduces Cybersecurity Bill

Last week, after much anticipation and delay, the bipartisan Senate cybersecurity legislation, S. 2105 – Cybersecurity Act of 2012, was unveiled. Though it is laudable that Congress has begun in earnest to attend to the critical cybersecurity threats that face America, there has been little debate about the how information sharing and defense of critical infrastructure…

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