NEWS3 March 2015

New White House privacy bill ‘too vague to endorse’

Government North America

US — The White House has released a draft comprehensive privacy bill, intended to operationalise President Obama’s Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.


However, according to the Marketing Research Association (MRA), the US assocation for the opinion and research profession, the bill is too late and much of the legislation is “too vague to endorse”.

“We appreciate the White House proposing this legislation,” said Howard Fienberg, director of government affairs for the MRA. “MRA has long sought a baseline privacy law and broadly shares the Obama Administration’s goals of transparency, consumer control over their data, and reasonable data security.

“This bill’s focus on context in the collection, sharing and use of personal data is an interesting development — so complicated as to be difficult to enshrine in legalese, but worth exploring. The envisioning and privileging of privacy review boards and the further encouragement of industry codes of conduct also show promise,” Fienberg continued.

“However, much of this legislation is too vague to endorse, and the bill is at least three years too late. The apex of interest on Capitol Hill in a comprehensive data privacy solution occurred back in 2011-12, when multiple bills were circulating and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and White House released privacy reports. Interest in Congress has long-since cooled off, and although the White House has been promising this draft bill for many years, it was released with zero fanfare late on a Friday afternoon. This draft is likely going nowhere fast.”

The rest of Fienberg’s comments can be read here.