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:

Settings On Facebook’s Frictionless Sharing

Late last week, a group of organizations co-signed a letter to the Federal Trade Commission outlining concerns that they have about some of Facebook’s recent practices and announcements. CCIA believes that the FTC’s work in enforcing the unfair and deceptive practices prohibitions in Section 5 of the FTC Act is essential to protecting privacy online. However, the…

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Online Behavioral Advertising in the EU – The Need for User ‘Consent’

The advertising industry has drafted a self-regulatory framework this year to meet legal requirements regarding the placement of cookies on Internet users’ machines for the purpose of online behavioral advertising. This framework, drafted in response to legal requirements, is based on an opt-out approach. The approach would enable Internet users to obtain relevant information about the purpose…

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ECPA Petition Urges Reform

CCIA has been deeply involved for a long time in efforts to convince Congress to give the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) the attention it deserves. ECPA, written in 1986, dictates under what circumstances the government may demand a person’s information when it is stored online. The law predates much of what we know as…

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Court Rulings Impact Cell Users’ Privacy

The past week has seen two different federal court decisions that have a bearing on the privacy of your location, particularly information that can be gleaned from the use of an average cell phone. This information, usually called “cell-site location” data, is gathered and stored by cell phone service providers in the course of their…

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Court Rulings Impact Cell Users' Privacy

The past week has seen two different federal court decisions that have a bearing on the privacy of your location, particularly information that can be gleaned from the use of an average cell phone. This information, usually called “cell-site location” data, is gathered and stored by cell phone service providers in the course of their…

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CCIA Asks Swiss Government to Rethink Overbroad User Surveillance Proposals

In a reaction to increasing pressures from Governments around the world to extend the scope of online surveillance, the Computer & Communications Industry Association filed a comment on the Draft Revision of the Swiss Telecommunications Surveillance Ordinance (in French). The proposal, published by Switzerland’s Minister of Justice and Police, Simonetta Sommaruga, would provide law enforcement agencies with unprecedented authority to…

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