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    National Journal: Privacy Law Would Help U.S. Compete, Official Says

    National Journal reports on a Congressional hearing concerning U.S. and international privacy law:

    U.S. firms would be more competitive and better able to comply with foreign privacy laws if the United States had a broad law protecting consumer privacy online, a Commerce Department official told a House panel on Thursday.

    “It would be helpful and I think it would help the competitiveness of our businesses if we had baseline privacy protections that are flexible and take into account really the changing economy, [and] changing technologies,” Nicole Lamb-Hale of Commerce’s International Trade Administration told the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade.

    Some privacy advocates have called on the EU to get tougher with the United States and require it to harden up the current mix of industry self-regulation and some specific privacy laws related to health and finance. […]

    The Obama administration and even some tech firms such as Intel and Microsoft have called on Congress to pass legislation that would establish baseline privacy protections.

    The House panel examined how the European Union’s privacy law, which was first adopted in 1995, affects U.S. firms and what lessons it may provide U.S. policymakers. The law bars the flow of personal data about EU citizens to countries that do not have “adequate” privacy protections. […]

    The Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue, a coalition of nearly 80 European and U.S. consumer groups, wrote the subcommittee earlier this week saying there is much the United States could learn from the Europeans on privacy given the rising levels of privacy breaches in the United States.

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