Strickling Urges Congress Support of Online 'Bill of Rights'

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Tackling the consumer side of net neutrality, lawmakers in Washington are urging Congress to enact a so-called consumer bill of rights that would address privacy concerns.

The White House urged Congress on Wednesday to approve a “consumer privacy bill of rights” to govern the collection and use of personal data on the Internet, the AFP reported.

Commerce Department Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information Lawrence Strickling called for the legislation at a hearing on online privacy held by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

“The administration urges Congress to enact a 'consumer privacy bill of rights' to provide baseline consumer data privacy protections,” he said.

Strickling said authority to enforce privacy protections should be given to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), whose chairman, Jon Leibowitz, has advocated a “Do Not Track” mechanism that would allow Internet users to opt out of having their activities monitored.

“The large-scale collection, analysis, and storage of personal information is becoming more central to the Internet economy,” said Strickling, the White House's top communications policy advisor, according to the AFP report.

Strickling said such activities help to make the online economy more efficient and companies more responsive to their customer needs.

The Center for Democracy and Technology issued a statement in response to the announcement by Strickling that the administration supports passage of baseline consumer privacy legislation.

“This is a historic announcement, marking the first time the White House has called for a baseline consumer privacy bill,” said CDT President Leslie Harris. “The administration's vision of a strong, enforceable consumer privacy bill – based on a comprehensive set of Fair Information Practice Principles – echoes the same consumer protections CDT has advocated for more than a decade.”

The Center for Democracy and Technology is a non-profit public interest organization working to keep the Internet open, innovative and free.

Strickling has served as Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information at the Department of Commerce since June 2009. Strickling serves as administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the executive branch agency that is principally responsible for advising the President on communications and information policies.

Key issues on NTIA’s agenda include the management of the $4.7 billion broadband grants program created by the Recovery Act, administration of Federal agency spectrum requirements, and Internet governance and other Internet policy matters.


Erin Harrison is Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives, for TMC, where she oversees the company's strategic editorial initiatives, including the launch of several new print and online initiatives. She plays an active role in the print publications and TechZone360, covering IP communications, information technology and other related topics. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Janice McDuffee

Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives

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