House, Senate hold Hearings on Online Privacy

Published On July 28, 2010 | By Lisa Branco | General
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Committee hearings on online privacy are being held in both the House and Senate this week.  On Tuesday, the Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing on Consumer Online Privacy at which the committee heard testimony from the chairs of the FTC and FCC, as well as representatives from Facebook, Google, AT&T, and Apple.  (Archived hearing webcast here.)  Today, the House Judiciary Committee will be holding a hearing on “Online Privacy, Social Networking, and Crime Victimization” at 2pm Eastern.  (Webcast.)

There are currently several online privacy and security bills in play in both the House and Senate, including the Boucher-Stearns bill, the Rush bill, the Rockefeller-Snowe bill, and the Lieberman-Collins-Carper bill.  Additionally, Senator John Kerry (D-MA) announced in yesterday’s Senate hearing that he plans to introduce an online privacy bill in the near future.  Despite the number of bills that have been introduced, most analysts feel the chances of a privacy bill passing this year are slim, though FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz warned that “there will be a fair amount of interest in the next Congress” in getting a privacy bill passed if companies failed to take privacy seriously.