• Reps. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., and Jim Matheson, D-Utah, have introduced HR 1528, the Consumer Privacy Protection Act of 2011, aimed at ensuring that consumers have the opportunity to opt out from having their personally identifiable information (PII) sold to third parties by any entity that collects such information online. The bill does not contain an opt-out requirement when PII is not provided to third party. It would, however, require covered entities to establish and publish a privacy policy, notify consumers that their personally identifiable information might be used for a purpose unrelated to the transaction, and keep consumers informed of any material changes to the company’s privacy policy. The bill also proposes a safe harbor for entities that comply with a self-regulatory program to be established and overseen by the FTC. The current version does not create a private right of action, but would preempt inconsistent state and local privacy laws. The full text of the bill is available here.
  • Senators John Kerry, D-Mass., and John McCain, R-Ariz., also have introduced consumer privacy legislation – S 799, the Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2011. Their bill governs the collection, use, and sharing of PII online. It would require entities that collect PII to provide clear notice of their collection practices and the purpose for such collection. The bill has an opt-in provision where “sensitive” personally identifiable information is collected, and would prohibit the sharing of private data with third parties that have no relationship to the consumer. It would empower state attorneys general and the FTC to enforce the statute but has no provision for private rights of action. Voluntary “safe harbor” programs would be administered by the FTC. State laws, except those dealing with health or financial information, data breach notification or fraud would be preempted. In support of the bill, Senator Kerry stated that Americans “have a right to decide how their information is collected, used, and distributed and businesses deserve the certainty that comes with clear guidelines.” The full text of the bill is available here.