ONLINE PRIVACY: Republicans Oppose Protection Proposal
Republican legislators Saturday reacted negatively to an upcoming FTC report proposing legislation to protect consumer privacy online, the Washington Post reports. The report is said to offer evidence that although 90% of the most popular Web sites display privacy policies, only 20% fully comply with FTC "fair privacy practices." Rep. W.J. Tauzin (R-La.) called the report contradictory. He said the legislation is unnecessary and "could stifle the burgeoning Internet economy." But FTC Chair Robert Pitofsky said that lawmakers have a "tendency to characterize this debate as self-regulation versus regulation, as if it's going to be all of one or all of another." He argued, "There's a role for self-regulation -- that will certainly remain," but added that "ample middle ground" exists. Pitofsky pointed to the blended public-private system for dealing with complaints about television advertising fraud, noting, "That's the most successful form of self-regulation I'm aware of, and looking down the road that's a possibility in the online privacy area." GOP lawmakers said the FTC proposal was unlikely to be passed with only three months left to this legislative session (Schwartz, 5/21).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.