Sep 292009
 September 29, 2009  Posted by  Laws, U.S.

Two bills are coming up in Congress tomorrow (Wednesday) in the House Energy and Commerce Committee that have important privacy implications. Andrew Noyes reports:

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is slated to vote Wednesday on legislation that would require strong security policies from firms that collect and store individuals’ sensitive information and provide for nationwide notification in the event of a data breach.

The bill was sponsored by House Energy and Commerce Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection Subcommittee Chairman Bobby Rush, D-Ill., and was tweaked to win his panel’s approval in June, but more revisions are expected.

His manager’s amendment would let consumers ban the use of their information by data brokers for marketing purposes. That is in addition to language allowing individuals to access and correct profiles in marketing databases, according to a memo circulated to members. Breach victims could also sign up for credit monitoring or other related services instead of free credit reports.


The Energy and Commerce Committee also plans to take up legislation sponsored by Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif., that would regulate peer-to-peer programs and educate consumers about privacy and security risks associated with file-sharing. She plans to offer a manager’s amendment to narrow the definition of a covered entity to avoid sweeping in legitimate technologies such as Web servers, e-mail and security software.

Proposed changes would also make clear that it is unlawful for a file-sharing firm to install or offer for installation a covered program unless it makes certain disclosures to the user. Furthermore, the amendment would give the FTC discretionary rulemaking authority and clarify that the federal government is exempt from the bill.

Read moreon NextGov. The bills are the Data Accountability and Trust Act (H.R. 2221) and the Informed P2P User Act (H.R. 1319).

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