Support for Updating the U.S. Federal Privacy Act
In testimony today before the Senate Government Affairs Committee, the Center for Technology and Democracy (CDT) called on Congress and the Executive Branch to work together on closing well-known gaps in the aging Privacy Act. Although the Act provides several privacy benefits, it has not kept pace with technology, CDT said. In its testimony, CDT made several recommendations consistent with those outlined by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
On a side note, Google apparently supports a federal privacy law. As reported by Reuters and published today in eWeek.com, Representative Joe Barton (R-TX), who serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, wrote to Google in May asking for details on the it’s privacy practices after its merger with DoubleClick. Google responded,
“Google supports the adoption of a comprehensive federal privacy law that would accomplish several goals such as building consumer trust and protections; creating a uniform framework for privacy, which would create consistent levels of privacy from one jurisdiction to another; and putting penalties in place to punish and dissuade bad actors,” the letter said. It was signed by Alan Davidson, Google’s chief lobbyist. …
Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, was skeptical of Google’s endorsement of a federal privacy law. Rotenberg said that when companies push for a “comprehensive” law, they often want something that would preempt more stringent state laws.
“We do not want the states to have their hands tied,” he said Rotenberg, citing California and New York as examples of states with tough privacy laws.
For more information, see EPIC’s article Privacy? Proposed Google DoubleClick Deal, last updated June 3, 2008.
For Bob Schneier’s call for a U.S. comprehensive privacy law, see posting on May 19, 2008.