Outgoing U.S. Commerce Department General Counsel Cameron Kerry used the opportunity of his final public remarks to emphasize that a unified U.S. privacy framework is essential to the future of the digital economy.

Legislation should not wait for some data disaster to happen that undermines the trust essential to a successful digital economy. One byproduct of the unauthorized disclosures about NSA surveillance has been to heighten awareness of just how much data each of us generates: data about data, data from various devices, data traveling and residing on multiple networks.

Kerry spoke today at the German Marshall Fund of the United States and said that the private sector has a key role to play in demonstrating to the world that the United States is committed to consumer privacy, however, the underlying U.S. model of notice-and-choice is no longer practical or sufficient to provide consumers with a “set of baseline expectations., regardless of where they live or what business they deal with.”

“This is ultimately about trust,” Kerry said. “The government can try to create a trusted framework. But it’s up to  companies to build that trust.”

A complete text of Kerry’s remarks is here.