Hill to Trump Admin: Include Us in Privacy Blueprint Plans

The White House's signal that it is working on a blueprint for a national privacy protection framework in the age of ubiquitous broadband and the Internet of Things has prompted some bipartisanship on Capitol Hill.

The chairmen and ranking members of the Senate Commerce Committee's Consumer Protection and Communications Subcommittees have written Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to say that Congress should be included in any such effort.

“To protect Americans from data misuse and establish certainty for businesses to create jobs, innovate, and compete domestically and abroad, a national privacy framework is essential,” the senators told Ross in a letter supplied to B&C by one of the senators. “Congress should be central to privacy blueprints. Any proposal that satisfies both the needs of American consumers and the internet economy would require Congressional action to make it an enforceable nationwide standard," they said.

Signing on to the letter were Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), chair and ranking members, respectively, of the Consumer Protection Subcommittee, and Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), chair and ranking member of the Commerce Subcommittee.

The bipartisanship is not necessarily forced by the White House move. Both parties are currently focused on edge issues with concerns about online data collection, protection and use, including by third-parties, particularly in the wake of various hacks and Facebook, Amazon and others' issues with data sharing.

The senators made that point to Ross: "Over the past year," they pointed out, "Americans have routinely heard stories about the misuse of their personal data. These disclosures demonstrate how little we know about who has access to consumers' private information and how that data is used. This trend has troubling economic implications..."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.