Grading the tech policy makers: A first quarter recap

By Kenneth Corbin, CIO |  IT Management

While CISPA saw strong bipartisan support at the committee level, it has lately become the target of vocal opposition by civil rights groups like the Center for Democracy and Technology and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which have warned that the bill is overly broad, and could lead to excessive monitoring and surveillance, and result in information being shared for the sake of protecting intellectual property. In that sense, the groups are raising concerns that are similar to their objections to SOPA and PIPA, and EFF and others have declared the week beginning April 16 a "week of action opposing CISPA."

"CIPSA would allow ISPs, social networking sites and anyone else handling Internet communications to monitor users and pass information to the government without any judicial oversight," EFF Activism Director Rainey Reitman said in a statement. "The language of this bill is dangerously vague, so that personal online activity -- from the mundane to the intimate -- could be implicated." Privacy

Compared to intellectual property and cybersecurity, lawmakers have been fairly quiet in their address of the ever-contentious online privacy debate this year. Some of that hesitation has been the product of the continued efforts of industry groups to demonstrate that self-regulation can be an effective tool to protect privacy. It also owes to the fact that lawmakers had been anticipating the release of two major reports that would go a long way toward defining the administration's position on steps needed to protect online privacy.

Both reports, one from the White House and the Department of Commerce and the other from the Federal Trade Commission, materialized in the first quarter of 2012.

In February, the White House and Commerce Department unveiled a so-called consumer bill of rights that called for industry participation to give Internet users more visibility into how their information is collected and used, as well as tools to limit online tracking and profiling, including a do-not-track mechanism built into the Web browser. Following up on that framework, commerce officials are convening a series of talks with industry representatives, privacy advocates and other concerned parties to fine-tune the implementation of do-not-track and other self-regulatory guidelines in the hopes of garnering broad support among advertising players and Web companies.

Originally published on CIO |  Click here to read the original story.
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