This year, there has been much discussion of privacy legislation in the House of Representatives. In May, Congressman Rick Boucher (D-Va.) and Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) — who are Chairman and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce — released a discussion draft of a new privacy bill. Privacy Lives joined nine leading privacy and consumer organizations in calling for changes to the Boucher-Stearns bill, urging much stronger provisions to protect consumer privacy both online and off.
In July, Congressman Bobby Rush (D-Illinois) (Chairman of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce) introduced a privacy bill (pdf) called the Best Practices Act of 2010. And he held a hearing, where advocates and industry representatives debated the provisions of the legislation.
Now, Tech Daily Dose reports that the House will likely continue to consider privacy legislation next year.
Regardless of which party controls the House in the next Congress, privacy and possibly a rewrite of the 1996 telecommunications act may be on the agenda of the committee with prime jurisdiction over both issues, two key House lawmakers said Thursday.
During a taped segment of C-Span’s “The Communicators” program, House Energy and Commerce Communications Subcommittee Chairman Rick Boucher, D-Va., and subcommittee ranking member Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., said they plan to push forward on comprehensive online privacy legislation regardless of which party wins control of the House following the November elections. […]
When asked about criticism from business groups that it goes too far and claims from privacy advocates that it doesn’t do enough, Boucher said he believes this shows that the measure has found the right middle ground on the issue. He noted it will provide the first set of comprehensive online privacy guarantees, while also ensuring that it will not interfere with the ability of online firms to provide advertising that helps support free content on the Internet. […]
Both lawmakers also voiced interest in seeking a rewrite of the 1996 telecommunications act, saying it has become outdated amid today’s rapidly changing technology sector. “It’s obsolete,” Stearns said.