Sen. John Rockefeller (D-WV), chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, is still working to reach consensus on the data security bill that he and Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) introduced in June.  A scheduled markup was canceled in September, and the committee decided not to consider the bill at yesterday’s executive session.  Nonetheless, a spokesman for

For the fifth consecutive session of Congress, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has introduced legislation that would establish a federal data breach notification standard.  Sen. Feinstein’s legislation — the Data Breach Notification Act of 2011 (S. 1408) — is one of a number of breach notice proposals circulating on Capitol Hill that would preempt state breach notice laws and replace them with a federal standard.  In the Senate alone, Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Mark Pryor (D-AR) have introduced the Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2011 (S. 1207), and Sen. Patrick Leahy has introduced the Personal Data Privacy and Security Act of 2011 (S. 1151). 

We have heard from several sources that Sen. Rockefeller, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, is planning to markup S. 1207 in the near future.  And last week, the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade marked up and voted to report the SAFE Data Act (H.R. 2577) (introduced by Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA)) to the full House Energy & Commerce Committee. 

Unlike many of the breach bills that are circulating, Senator Feinstein’s bill is limited to breach notification obligations and does not include information security requirements.  Generally, S. 1408 is much more similar to the breach notice provisions of S. 1151 (Leahy) than S. 1207 (Rockfeller/Pryor) or H.R. 2577 (Bono Mack).

Continue Reading Feinstein Introduces Breach Notice Bill; Senate Committee May Consider Breach Notice Proposals Shortly

Over the past few weeks, online publishers have seen regulators’ focus on privacy in the social media context reach the boiling point.  Just this week, Politico reported that FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz confirmed in a letter to Sen. Mark Pryor that “FTC staff are carefully monitoring the privacy and security issues associated with social networking sites.”  Sen. Pryor, who chairs the Consumer Protection Subcommittee of the Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, had expressed concern about privacy and security issues in the context of social media apps, and so we expect that social media privacy issues will play a key role in forthcoming online privacy legislation.  (We’ve posted Sen. Pryor’s letter to Leibowitz here.)

The announcement of the FTC’s focus on social networking comes on the heels of the FTC’s highly publicized settlement with Google over its Buzz product, which Erin Egan reported on earlier this year and was just approved by the court last weekAccording to FTC blogger Lesley Fair, the agency alleged that consumers “weren’t adequately informed that certain information that had been private — including the people they chatted with or emailed most often — would be shared publicly by default.”

For other online publishers, the headline from the Google Buzz settlement is the requirement that Google implement a comprehensive “privacy by design” program across all of its products.  In a recent speech, FTC Consumer Protection Bureau Chief David Vladick pointed to this aspect of the Google settlement as a key shift in the agency’s expectations for social media providers generally.  In fact, the FTC has announced that it wants the privacy by design provisions of the Google settlement to “serve as a guide to industry.”  Privacy by design programs, it said, are a “good idea for all companies” and should be “flexible and scalable.”

Continue Reading Regulators Take Aim at Social Networking Privacy

As expected, this year is shaping up to be a busy year on privacy.  As we noted in an earlier post, many Congressional members on both sides of the aisle are focusing on privacy issues.  We still expect Senator Kerry to introduce comprehensive privacy legislation in the next few weeks and we understand Senator