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Posted at 10:21 AM ET, 02/ 8/2011

Internet privacy talk to hit the Hill

By Hayley Tsukayama

A slew of online privacy bills is expected to hit the Hill in the coming weeks, with a handful of lawmakers ready to introduce legislation on how best to protect consumer information on the Internet.

Rep. Bobby Rush's (D-Ill.) office said that his version of the bill will be very similar to one he previously proposed. Rush spokeswoman Sharon Jenkins said that it will not include a Do Not Track feature. The earlier bill provided safe harbor for businesses that adopted their own programs.

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) announced in December that she would introduce privacy legislation to give consumers opt-out options from "cookies, sniffing, scraping, or any other new and creative methods developed by those looking to profit through these activities."

Aides to Speier, who had planned to submit her legislation in January, told Hillicon Valley that she expects to introduce the bill this week.

A spokesman for Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) told the National Journal that he wants to pick up the privacy issue where he left off with the bill he headed up with Democrat Rick Boucher, who lost his Virginia House seat in November.

Other House members said to be mulling privacy include House Internet Privacy Caucus co-chairs Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), who said he is working on a bill to protect children's Internet privacy, and Rep. Joe Barton (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

On the Senate side, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) is also expected to introduce privacy legislation that his office has been working on for months. Kerry has favored the idea of a safe harbor for firms that voluntarily adopt the recommendations in the Federal Trade Commission's December report.

A Kerry spokeswoman said his office is still finalizing the bill.

By Hayley Tsukayama  | February 8, 2011; 10:21 AM ET
Categories:  FTC, Privacy  
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