Congress Explores Consumer Privacy Protection

The emergence of privacy legislation from several committees in both chambers of Congress in the past months, combined with the ongoing FTC scrutiny of existing privacy practices of companies during the past year, reflect a growing concern for consumer privacy that may well lead to the establishment of standardized data security and data privacy regulations in the United States.

On Thursday, July 22, 2010, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection, chaired by Representative Bobby Rush (D-IL), conducted a hearing to discuss the Chairman’s recently introduced H.R. 5777 – Building Effective Strategies To Promote Responsibility Accountability Choice Transparency Innovation Consumer Expectations and Safeguards Act” (The Best Practices Act). Witnesses included key stakeholders on privacy policy – representatives from privacy advocacy organizations and private industry, and notably, David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held their hearing regarding online privacy practices and the future of consumer privacy protection on Tuesday, July 27, 2010,. Witnesses included FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, as well as representatives from Google, Apple, and Facebook.

Click here to read more about the new direction of privacy regulation in the Kelley Drye client advisory.