The contours of the online privacy debate, like so many other policy issues, are in broad measure shaped by the appropriate role for government to play in the private sector.
With the Web, a bright spot amid a still-moribund economy, that dispute sharpens, with the laissez-faire crowd arguing against virtually any measure that would impose regulations on a fast-moving sector.
Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) on Friday reminded an audience at an event at Washington that he is inclined to throw in with that crows, announcing plans to advance an online privacy bill that would keep the industry in the driver’s seat.
Stearns said he has a draft privacy bill that he’s looking to advance this Congress that would codify the self-regulatory framework currently in place, while encouraging greater transparency about what information is being collected and how it is being used, and giving the Federal Trade Commission some limited enforcement authority.
“The bottom line is only the consumer — only the consumer — knows what he or she feels about the information being collected and the parties doing the collecting, the purpose for which the information is collected. Congress cannot and should not make that decision for them,” Stearns said.
eSecurity Planet has the full report on Stearns’ plans for privacy legislation, and surveys the policy landscape on the issue from other corners of Washington.