Sen. Kerry Urges Colleagues to Attend White Paper Briefing on Online Privacy

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), one of the leading Hill voices for online privacy protection legislation, has asked his colleagues to attend a March 15 briefing on the administration white paper on the issue.

Three weeks ago, the White House backed an online ad industry pledge to abide by a voluntary browser-based do not track regime, but it also said that legislation to ensure compliance would also be useful, including possibly making it clear that anyone who took the pledge and did not follow through would be liable for unfair and deceptive practices enforceable by the Federal Trade Commission. There is also the issue of what to do about advertisers who did not volunteer – the Digital Advertising Association says about 90% of online advertisers have committed to its self-regulatory program.

At the briefing, dubbed "Navigating a Framework for Consumer Privacy in a Digital Age," members or a staffer will hear from deputy chief technology officer Danny Weitzner, and discuss the white paper and proposed consumer protections with representatives of Verizon, Microsoft and Consumers Union, among others.

Advertisers would prefer do not track remains voluntary, concerned about damaging the targeted online ad model that helps support free online content. But the administration has expressed similar concerns, one of the reasons it backed the voluntary effort, though with a shout-out for some regulatory backstop.

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.