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    Bipartisan Working Group Examines Consumer Privacy

    Dec 10, 2013

    The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade held the first series of meetings of the new bipartisan privacy working group, which was formed in September 2013 to identify and recommend the consumer privacy issues to be considered by the subcommittee. The nine-member group is being led by Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Peter Welch (D-VT).

    “Working together, we will review a broad set of privacy issues, and seek opportunities where Congress can forge bipartisan agreement to better protect consumers’ sensitive information and foster US-based innovation,” said Blackburn.

    “While advancements in technology have transformed our lives for the better, there has been a related explosion in the online collection of consumer information,” said Welsh. “It’s more important than ever that we make sure the consumer’s right to privacy is protected.”

    The working group has met three times and plans to meet seven more times. The first meeting, on September 26, was an education briefing involving industry representatives from Google, Wal-Mart, and BlueKai. It focused on how data empowers marketing and advertising and how companies address consumer privacy interests.

    During the second meeting, on Nov. 14, the working group heard from representatives from industry and a former top official from the Federal Trade Commission about the growing information-sharing capabilities and connectivity of consumer devices, known as the “Internet of Things.”

    On Nov. 20, the working group’s third meeting was on consumer privacy issues, and it heard from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), consumer interest groups, and a representative of the academic community. At this meeting, the DMA discussed the results of a new academic study it says demonstrates the value of data to the U.S. economy.

    The Data Driving Marketing Institute study, undertaken by Professors John Deighton of Harvard Business School and Peter Johnson of Columbia University, found that the data driving marketing economy added $156 billion in revenue to the U.S. economy and fueled more than 675,000 jobs in 2012 alone. To view the study, click HERE.


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