Today's hearing will explore ways that companies collect and use personal information.
Chairman Boucher and Chairman Rush and Ranking Members Barton and Stearns have been
leaders on this issue for a number of years, and I want to work with you in developing solutions
that can better inform consumers and enable them to safeguard their privacy.
The collection, use, and dissemination of consumer information provide many benefits to
consumers, businesses, and the marketplace. But they raise legitimate concerns about whether
consumers have adequate control over personal information that is shared.
Sophisticated business models and rapidly-evolving technologies allow vast amounts of
data to be collected, aggregated, analyzed, mined, and sold in ways that were unimaginable only
10 years ago. Many of these business practices conflict with consumers' expectations of privacy.
As today's testimony will show, a surprising number of American consumers incorrectly
believe that certain information sharing practices are illegal. In fact, consumers have few rights
with respect to the collection and use of much of their personal information. Even experienced
consumers can have difficulty navigating offline and online data collection practices or
understanding their rights.
I look forward to hearing from our expert witnesses. I also look forward to working with
my colleagues to give consumers tools to protect their privacy without unduly burdening
industry or stifling innovation.