Privacy lawyer Christopher Wolf writes:
Privacy was not on the ballot yesterday, but the results may affect the prospects for privacy legislation in the new Congress.
The big news is that Congressman Rick Boucher, a respected Virginia Democrat who has served for nearly 19 years, was defeated by Morgan Griffith, a Virginia state legislator. Boucher, along with Congressman Rick Stearns (R-FL) circulated a draft comprehensive privacy bill earlier this year and promised to introduce it after harmonizing it with the bill introduced by Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL). The election result means that Boucher no longer will chair the House Communications, Technology and the Internet Subcommittee. He may be succeeded by Stearns, who presumably would still favor privacy legislation and make it a subcommittee priority.
A glimpse into the privacy views of presumptive Speaker of the House John Boehner is his lawsuit under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) arising out of the interception and recording of a cell phone conference call Boehner had with Republican leaders concerning an ethics investigation into conduct of Newt Gingrich, and the fact that he voted yes on retroactive immunity for telecoms’ warrantless surveillance.
Whether privacy becomes a priority for the new Republican leadership is an open questions, and will likely be driven by events and the headlines.
Read more on Hogan Lovells Chronicle of Data Protection.