Privacy SOS

House Republicans to hold data privacy hearing July 14

In the latest Congressional move related to consumer data privacy, two House Republicans of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Greg Walden and Mary Bono, have scheduled a consumer data privacy hearing for July 14. This is just another sign that Congress will likely pass some kind of consumer data privacy legislation soon. There's been a lot of noise — and even some action! — around data privacy lately.

Senators Kerry and McCain have introduced a bill to address these issues, though it falls short in important respects. Senator Leahy has introduced a bill that would update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), passed in 1986. That bill would be great, were it not for a loophole the size of the ocean: it makes an exemption for anything related to "national security." Senator Ron Wyden and Rep. Jason Chaffetz have introduced legislation that aims to curb warrantless GPS tracking. The latter is the best, if most specific, of the bunch and probably the least likely to pass given the Obama administration's fierce opposition to a warrant requirement for location tracking.

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