Senior Fellow Peter Swire Testifies at Senate Hearing

FPF Senior Fellow Peter Swire testified as part of today’s Senate Hearing on the “State of Federal Privacy and Data Security Law: Lagging Behind the Time.” The Hearing, held by the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management; the Federal Workforce; and the District of Columbia, aimed to address the privacy-related challenges facing federal agencies today.

Professor Swire’s testimony focused on four key proposals to help the government address various privacy concerns:

  1. The Senate Should Promptly Confirm the Five Nominees for the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.
  2. Congress should create a federal Chief Privacy Officer by statute, to improve coordination of privacy policy across federal agencies.
  3. There is an important loophole in the Privacy Act, but the problem can best be addressed by changes to the E-Government Act.
  4. The oversight process should focus more attention on the line between identified and de-identified data in federal agencies.
    1. Professor Swire is working with the Future of Privacy Forum this year on identifying good practices for de-identification in the online setting

Professor Swire’s full testimony is available here.

Peter Swire is the C. William O’Neill Professor of Law at the Moritz College of Law of the Ohio State University.  In 1999, he was named Chief Counselor for Privacy, in the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.  In that role, he was the first (and thus far the only) person to have government-wide responsibility for privacy policy. As Chief Counselor for Privacy, he worked extensively with the Privacy Act of 1974, helped institutionalize the practice of Privacy Impact Assessments for federal systems, and addressed many other privacy and cybersecurity issues affecting federal agencies. Since then, Professor Swire has continued to write and speak extensively on privacy and security issues.

July 31, 2012 – Dangerous assumptions about clouds, CSO

No one is more vigilant about protecting the data of EU citizens than European Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding.

FTC Becomes First Enforcement Authority in APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules System

See FTC press release:

July 25, 2012 – Cookies, consent & exemptions: the evolving discussions, Data Protection Law & Policy

Read the article written by one of FPF’s own.  Julian Flamant, “Cookies, consent & exemptions: the evolving discussions”

Senate Commerce Testimony on Privacy and Self-Regulation

On June 28, Ohio State law professor and FPF Senior Fellow Peter Swire testified before the Senate Commerce Committee on “The Need for Privacy Protections: Is Industry Self-Regulation Adequate?”  Other witnesses were: Alex Fowler, Global Privacy and Policy Leader for Mozilla; Bob Liodice, President and CEO of the Association of National Advertisers; and Berin Szoka of TechFreedom.

Swire’s testimony highlighted four points:

  1. The threat of government regulation spurs the adoption of self-regulation.
  2. The history of self-regulation after the 1990’s shows that self-regulation declined when the credible threat of government action eroded.
  3. The current wave of attention to online privacy has produced progress on Do Not Track, but with broad exceptions to the announced collection limits.  In connection with this point, the testimony announced that counsel for the Digital Advertising Alliance has stated that the DAA is now open to concrete discussion about how to further improve the market research and product development exceptions for Do Not Track.
  4. We should focus more attention on technical and administrative measures for de-identification in online privacy.  In connection with this topic, Professor Swire will be working with Jules Polonetsky and FPF on a de-identification project this year.


For Swire’s testimony, click here.  For full video of the hearing, click here.

Swire has also been invited to testify on July 31 about “State of Federal Privacy and Data Security Law: Lagging Behind the Times?”  The testimony will be before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia.

July 23, 2012 – 5% of Free Apps Use Ads That Can Take Over Your Phone and Pilfer Your Contact Info: Study Read, Mobile & Apps

It appears the saying “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”, which warns us that things which appear to be free usually come with strings attached, can now be applied to free apps as well; in 5% of those apps at least, and the number is rising according to a recent study by Lookout, a mobile security firm.

July 23, 2012 – California Gets Privacy Enforcement Unit, Information Week

California Attorney General Kamala Harris on Friday announced the formation of a new privacy enforcement unit in the state’s Department of Justice to defend individual privacy rights.

July 17, 2012 – Do you know privacy policies for your apps?, CFNEWS

If you have a smart phone, pay attention. We’ve got some important information when it comes to your privacy.

July 17, 2012 – Mobile App Companies Posting More Privacy Policies, Corporate Counsel

As U.S. regulators and lawmakers push to see more privacy policies take hold in the mobile apps space, it appears app developers (and their lawyers) are taking note.

July 16, 2012 – App Developers Improve At Creating, Adhering to Privacy Policies, Marketing Vox

App developers are behaving themselves by creating and adhering to privacy policies according to a survey released Friday by the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF).