Stearns Privacy Bill in the Hopper

A draft of a privacy bill authored by Rep. Cliff Stearns
(R-Fla.) is currently being circulated, according to a copy obtained by
B&C/Multi, and could be introduced this week.

That comes the same day that Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.)
and John McCain (R-Ariz.) introduced their own privacy bill dealing, also
dealing with giving surfers notice and choice about how their information is
used.

Like the Kerry/McCain bill, the Stearns bill would put the
Federal Trade Commission in charge of enforcing the privacy rules as violations
of unfair or deceptive acts.

The Stearns bill focuses on providing consumers with notice
of what information is being collected and how. Unlike the Kerry bill, the
Stearns bill combines that information with clear options to opt-out, while the
Kerry would add to that opt-out regime and affirmative opt-in requirement for
sharing personally identifiable sensitive information.

Stearns, who has been working on a privacy bill for a coupleof years now,
is a member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, which has signaled
that privacy is one of its legislative priorities.

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.