Washington

Kerry Will Push for Online Privacy Legislation

Calls for new baseline standards for privacy protection 7/27/2010 05:06:19 PM Eastern

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) says he will pursue an online privacy bill in the Senate.

That
announcement came in concert with an online privacy hearing in the
Senate Commerce Committee. Kerry is chairman of the committee's
Communications Subcommittee.

He said the
goal went beyond targeted advertising. "As a matter of law, we need new
baseline standards for privacy protection that ensure people's identity
is treated with the respect it deserves,"
he said. "Take the single example of a cancer survivor who uses a
social network to connect with other cancer survivors and share her
story. That story is not meant for her employer or everyone she emails,
or marketers of medical products promising herbal
cures."

At the
hearing, Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) echoed
that need for baseline protections for folks who were neither computer
whizzes or lawyers who regularly read the kind of
small print in which pirvacy policies are frequently disclosed, or he
would argue obscured, online.

"Our
counterparts in the House have introduced legislation and I intend to
work with Senator[Mark] Pryor [D-Ark.] and others to do the same on this
side with the goal of passing legislation early in
the next Congress."
Reps. Rick
Boucher (D-W. Va.) and Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) have introduced a draft and
bill, respectively, that would mandate an opt-in/opt out process on the
collection, use and sharing of online information.

During his
hearing testimony, Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz said
that he thought if industry stepped up with clear, concise, ways to
inform and give Web users choice about when and
how their information was used, they could avoid a legislative response
in the next Congress.

Senator Amy
Klobuchar (D-Minn.) put in a plug for her Senate version of an
anti-stalking bill (H.R. 5662, the Simplifying the Ambiguous Law,
Keeping Everyone Reliably Safe Act) that related to online
privacy. Klobuchar is introducing a bill to toughen anti-stalking laws,
prompted in part by the posting of peepcam video of ESPN reporter Erin
Andrews, who joined Klobuchar for a press conference on the bill earlier
in the day.

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