Blackburn DC Privacy Roundtable 9/14: The Free-Market, Pro-Data Approach

by on September 13, 2011 · 1 comment

Come hear the other side of the privacy debate! Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) will lead a discussion among policy experts united by a desire to address demonstrated dangers of data abuse without giving up the value created by data as the vital currency of the digital economy. The Roundtable  is Wednesday, September 14, 8-9:30 am in Congressional Visitors Center Meeting Room North, CVC 268:

The roundtable discussion will cover online privacy issues in anticipation of the final reports to be released this fall by the Department of Commerce and the Federal Trade Commission. Invited participants will consider questions and policy issues related to the value of data, where government should or shouldn’t be involved in regulating online privacy, and alternatives to government regulation.

Congressman Blackburn, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and vice chair of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, pledged to conduct a national series of tech industry roundtables in a speech to the Telecommunications Industry Association earlier this year. Her first roundtable was held in late June at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s new online advertising community center in New York City. Congressman Blackburn also recently wrote an op-ed titled “The FTC’s Internet Kill Switch” that addresses why any proposed privacy regulation must consider the costs of diminished competition and innovation.

I shared my thoughts on Rep. Blackburn’s healthy skepticism of regulation in a CNET editorial in June: On Online Privacy and Avoiding overregulation. The TLF’s Ryan Radia (Competitive Enterprise Institute), Jim Harper (Cato), Larry Downes and I (both TechFreedom) will be there.  Joining us will be Howard Beales (George Washington University School of Business), Daniel Castro (Information Technology and Innovation Foundation), Harold Furchgott-Roth (Hudson’s Center for Economics of the Internet), Tom Lenard (Technology Policy Institute) and Randy May (Free State Foundation)/

Adam Thierer & I laid out our “Principles to Guide the Debate” on online privacy nearly three years ago, asking that those proposing regulation:
  1. Identify the harm or market failure that requires government intervention.
  2. Prove that there is no less restrictive alternative to regulation.
  3. Explain how the benefits of regulation outweigh its costs
I’ll continue to argue for a “layered” approach to privacy, as I did in my FTC comments nearly two years ago:
1. Erect a higher “Wall of Separation between Web and State” by increasing Americans’ protection from government access to their personal data—thus bringing the Fourth  Amendment into the Digital Age (such as through ECPA reform).
2. Educate users about privacy risks and data management in general as well as specific practices and policies for safer computing.
3. Empower users to implement their privacy preferences in specific contexts as easily as possible.
4. Enhance self-regulation by industry sectors and companies to integrate with  user education and empowerment.
5. Enforce existing laws against unfair and deceptive trade practices as well as state privacy tort laws.

The video of the event should be online later this week. I’ll be trying to tweet on the #privacy hashtags and also #BlackburnPriv. Hope to see you there!

And remember, we’re having a joint happy hour with the Electronic Frontier Foundation Wednesday evening, 5:30-8:30 at Johnny’s on the Half Shell on Capitol Hill.


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