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New privacy bill introduced in Congress

On April 14, 2011, in Congress, Privacy, United States, by Jorge Espinosa

Your company may soon face more regulations in how it gathers and maintains customer data online.  On Tuesday April 11, 2011, Sens. John Kerry (D) of Massachusetts and John McCain (R) of Arizona introduced a new bill titled the Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2011.  If passed the bill would impose new responsibilities on companies to disclose what data is collected from online visitors to their sites and would entitle users to opt out.

The bill seems to be explicitly directed at re-advertisers.  It explicitly states that it will target companies that take information solely for the purpose of advertising, and will be more lenient towards companies that have “existing relationships with customers.” “The bill does not allow for the collection and sharing of private data by businesses that have no relationship to the consumer for purposes other than advertising and marketing,” McCain said in the joint statement with Kerry. “It is this practice that American consumers reject as an unreasonable invasion of privacy.”

An additional factor that is likely to be the object of scrutiny as the bill advances through congress is a requirement that data that is collected by adequately secured once it has been gathered.  The FTC would be empowered to publish rules setting forth security requirements.  This portion of the bill responds to growing consumer concerns at unauthorized personal information leaks in the news.


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Jorge Espinosa


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