Today, Congressman Bob Goodlatte, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet, held a hearing to examine the public policy issues raised by new technologies, such as online advertising, social media and mobile applications, in the mobile and online spaces.
It is clear that some of the central policy issues for both consumers and companies are the issues of privacy and data collection. Privacy continues to take on greater importance as more Americans not only use the Internet and mobile devices, but also share their personal information with companies on the web. Privacy policies and the technological safeguards that companies implement will help guide consumers on what they should expect from those who handle their personal information, and set expectations for companies that use personal data.
"The privacy of American consumers is of the utmost importance and so today's hearing explored what mechanisms the private sector is currently employing to protect the privacy of Internet and mobile users," said Chairman Goodlatte. "There have been astonishing advancements in the delivery of products and services online, and as a result there are privacy implications for a variety of new technologies, some of which were not even in existence a few years ago."
Chairman Goodlatte continued, "As Congress begins to look into privacy and data collection issues, we must focus on how best to protect the interests of consumers and the Internet-user community in this ever-changing digital age, while also ensuring that innovation is encouraged and not stifled by undue regulatory burdens."
The Subcommittee heard from the following witnesses on the industry standards that are currently in place to protect online consumers and what can be done to improve these standards in the future. Notable, all the witnesses testified that the federal government should not impose a one-size-fits-all regulatory approach and that the federal government should not prescribe specific privacy policies.