A draft copy of the Department of Commerce’s privacy report was informally released, providing insights into the agency’s recommendations before its official release in the coming weeks.
The 54-page report, “Privacy and Information Innovation: A Dynamic Privacy Framework for the Internet Age,” includes 10 policy recommendations as currently drafted, including the passage of federal privacy legislation, according to The Washington Post.
Legislation should be “built on an expanded set of Fair Information Practice Principles,” which generally require notification about data collection with the option to consent, but include limits on the collection and usage of data. The legislation should also cover data breach issues that address “notification provisions, encourages companies to implement strict data security protocols, and allows states to build upon the law in limited ways.”
The report also recommends that Internet advertisers adopt a voluntary code of conduct, which would operate as a safe harbor. While it recommends that the Federal Trade Commission should remain the primary enforcement agency for consumer privacy, the report seeks comment on whether the agency should be given additional rulemaking authority if a voluntary, enforceable code is not established by the industry.
Another recommendation from the report includes the appointment of a federal privacy officer, albeit without enforcement authority; the office would work with the FTC “in leading efforts to develop voluntary but enforceable codes of conduct.”
Once released, the report will be published in the Federal Register to seek comment on questions about various proposals, including the expansion of FTC rulemaking, whether the Electronic Communications Privacy Act should be updated, and if state Attorneys General should be given the authority to enforce national privacy legislation.
Why it matters: The push for action on privacy continues, with the release of the Commerce Department’s report expected before the end of the year. The report will come on the heels of the FTC privacy report that was issued just over a week ago, in which it called for, among other things, the establishment of a do-not-track mechanism. In addition, the White House established its own committee on Internet privacy in October. And the House Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection Subcommittee held a hearing earlier this month to discuss Internet privacy.