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    Cliff Stearns Introduces ‘Consumer Privacy Protection Act’

    One day after the introduction of privacy legislation by Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) introduces “The Consumer Privacy Protection Act of 2011” (Stearns pdf; archive pdf).

    I haven’t looked at the bill in-depth, but I can’t support legislation that preempts state legislation, as this bill does. States are far ahead of the federal government on privacy-protective legislation, and any federal legislation should set a floor for states to build on, rather than a ceiling to restrain strong privacy protections for individuals.

    From the press release:

    In the last Congress, Stearns worked with Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA), Chairman of the Communications, Technology and the Internet Subcommittee, in developing draft privacy legislation. Added Stearns, “Using my privacy legislation from the 109th Congress as a base, I took the comments submitted to Chairman Boucher and worked with stakeholders on developing this bill. The introduction of this bill is not the end of the process. I will continue to work to improve the language to ensure that regulatory distinctions are not being made on like services and that privacy is administered by a single agency, across the entire Internet economy. I am grateful to Rep. Matheson for extending his support for this bipartisan bill and I look forward to working with Chairwoman Bono Mack on enacting online privacy legislation to protect consumers.”

    The Consumer Privacy Protection Act of 2011 specifically would:

    · Require covered entities to notify consumers that their personally identifiable information as defined in the bill may be used for a purpose unrelated to the transaction.

    · Require entities to notify consumers of any material change in their privacy policy.

    · Require covered entities to establish a privacy policy with respect to the collection, sale, disclosure for consideration, or use of the consumer’s information and such policy be made easily available for consumers.

    · Require an entity to provide consumers the opportunity to preclude the sale or disclosure of their information to any organization that is not an information-sharing partner.

    · Provide for a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approved five-year self-regulatory program and prescribes requirements for a self-regulatory consumer dispute resolution process.

    · Require the FTC to presume that an entity is in compliance with this Act if it participates in an approved self-regulatory program.

    · No private right of action.

    · Full state preemption.

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