"The Internet is an extraordinary platform for innovation, economic growth, and social communication," said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke. "Simply stated, the Internet is becoming the central nervous system of our information economy and society."
Over the last 15 years, networked information technologies, including an expanding array of personal computers, cell phones, and other mobile devices, have become integral to economic and social life. The Internet has revolutionized the way we access and use information, engendered new forms of civic participation, and transformed social and cultural connections.
But it has also brought new concerns. Devices and applications that allow the collection and use of detailed personal information can run counter to consumers' privacy expectations.
Addressing commercial data privacy is both an economic and social imperative. Global online transactions now total an estimated $10 trillion annually. Strengthened commercial data privacy protections, the IPTF says, are critical to ensuring that the Internet fulfills its social and economic potential.
The report recommends reinvigorating the commitment to providing consumers with effective transparency relative to data practices, and outlines a process for translating transparency into consumer choices through a voluntary, multi-stakeholder process.
The framework aims to protect privacy, transparency, and informed consumer choice while recognizing the dynamic nature of technologies and markets, and encouraging continued innovation. Included in the report's recommendations is the consideration of a federal commercial data security breach notification (SBN) law that sets national standards, addresses how to reconcile inconsistent state laws, and authorizes enforcement by state authorities.
U.S. Leadership in Global Privacy Discussions
The report contends that a stronger commercial data privacy foundation would further strengthen the U.S.'s leadership position in global commercial data privacy discussions.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) administers a virtual U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to the International Organization for Standardization's (ISO) Technical Management Board (TMB) Privacy Steering Committee (PSC). In this role, ANSI is responsible for carrying forward U.S. positions in this area. [see related news item]
The PSC is charged with implementing recommendations addressing the issue of ISO technical standards and privacy, with specific focus on the protection of personally identifiable information and fair information handling.
The ANSI virtual U.S. TAG is chaired by Scott Matthews, acting assistant director in the Office of Technology and Electronic Commerce at the DOC. Mark MacCarthy, adjunct professor at Georgetown University's Communication, Culture, and Technology Program, and former senior vice president of global public policy for Visa Inc., serves as ANSI's expert to the PSC.
Persons interested in participating in the ANSI virtual TAG may contact Jim McCabe, ANSI senior director of consumer relations and IDSP (Identity Theft Prevention and Identity Management Standards Panel) at IDSP@ansi.org.