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.