Lawmakers, the Obama Administration, and federal regulators are all gearing up to take action on the issue of internet privacy. The only problem is they can’t seem to agree on how much consumer protection, if any, is appropriate. The Commerce Department, for example, wants the industry to regulate itself, while the Federal Trade Commission is developing stricter standards including a “do not track” registry (similar to the “do not call” registry) which would seek to limit advertisers’ ability to track and share consumer information. The Obama Administration, meanwhile, set up its own interagency panel to investigate ways to both protect consumers and keep business competitive. With all the disagreement about how to keep personal information protected on the internet, it’s at least somewhat ironic that the only place there is agreement is in Congress.
Amy Mushahwar, privacy & data security attorney with Reed Smith LLP
Lee Tien, a senior attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation