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Boucher, Stearns Working On Online Privacy Bill

Look for a bill out of the House Energy & Commerce Committee that will "assure a higher level of [online] privacy protection" for online surfers, by establishing an opt-in model for collecting Web surfing information for marketing purposes.

That's according to Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA), chair of the Communications, Technology & Internet Subcommittee, who said Thursday he was working on legislation with the ranking subcommittee member (Cliff Stearns of Florida).

The goal he said, is actually to expand electronic commerce dramatically, which he thinks will happen if "American consumers of products and services using the Internet as a deliverly platform can be assured of a higher level of privacy with respect to their personal information."

He said he plans to team with Stearns on legislation that will "assure that higher level of privacy protection." He said the goal is to make sure people know what information is being collected by the Web sites they visit, how it is used, and then "have an opportunity to act on that knowledge either by declining to allow the information to be collected or once it is collected, declining the ability of a Web site to send that information to third parties."

He said that privacy assurance will result in the growth of electronic commerce.

That news from Boucher came the same day the Federal Trade Commission issued new guidelines on privacy protection and online behavioral marketing, including encouraging an opt-in model for collecting or sharing surfing information.