For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 
Contact: 

Mandy Simon, (202) 675-2312; media@dcaclu.org

Commerce Department Releases Important Report Urging Comprehensive Privacy Protections

WASHINGTON - The
Commerce Department issued a report today identifying the need for
comprehensive privacy protections on the Internet that would provide a
baseline privacy framework for Americans' personal information and
urging that those privacy protections be enforceable by the Federal
Trade Commission (FTC).

The report, "Commercial Data Privacy and Innovation in the Internet
Economy: A Dynamic Policy Framework," also calls for a necessary
overhaul of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), originally
passed in 1986. The American Civil Liberties Union, along with a
coalition of other privacy and civil liberties groups, has been urging
Congress to make much-needed changes to ECPA. Today's report also
highlights the need for global standardization of privacy protections.
The United States is one of the few industrialized nations without a
comprehensive data privacy law.

"We commend the Commerce Department for identifying the need for
comprehensive protections of Americans' privacy. For too long, Americans
have been ill-served by a patchwork of privacy laws that contain broad
gaps and loopholes," said Christopher Calabrese, ACLU Legislative
Counsel. "Not only do those gaps increase the risk of identity theft,
they also allow for the compilation of profiles on every citizen that
can be shared with employers and the government."

The FTC released its own report earlier this month calling for the
implementation of strong protections for Americans' online activity and
endorsed the creation of a "do not track" list. A "do not track" list
would allow consumers to opt out of having their online activity
tracked, stored and shared with private companies for targeted
advertising use. The ACLU supports the creation of a "do not track" list
as it would create a barrier against unwarranted surveillance and
targeting of Americans.

"We need bright, clear lines when it comes to the access that law
enforcement and private companies have to Americans' online information.
It is time for Congress to act and pass strong, comprehensive
legislation to safeguard our privacy," added Calabrese.

The Commerce Department's report can be found here: www.ntia.doc.gov//reports/2010/IPTF_Privacy_GreenPaper_12162010.pdf

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