On February 23, 2012, Commerce Secretary John Bryson (remarks here) and Director of the White House National Economic Council Gene B. Sperling (White House press release here) announced the release of Consumer Data Privacy in a Networked World: A Framework for Protecting Privacy and Promoting Innovation in the Global Digital Economy. This comprehensive blueprint will guide efforts to protect privacy and assure continued innovation in the Internet economy by providing flexible implementation mechanisms to ensure privacy protections keep up with rapidly-changing technologies. In it, President Obama declares that privacy “has been at the heart of our democracy from its inception, and we need it now more than ever.”
The Administration advocates for legislation implementing broad baseline privacy protections founded on the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights set forth in its paper. Even before legislation is passed, however, the President calls on his Administration to advance the Bill of Rights principles and the Department of Commerce to convene multistakeholder efforts to produce codes of conduct that will protect consumers immediately. The framework laid out by the Administration will promote the growing digital economy by providing consumers and businesses a clear set of rules of the road to build trust, and promoting international interoperability of privacy regimes.
The Administration’s paper is the culmination of over two years of work led by the Commerce Department. On December 16, 2010, the Department issued a report detailing initial policy recommendations aimed at promoting consumer privacy online while ensuring the Internet remains a platform that spurs innovation, job creation, and economy growth. Following the release of the report, the Department received written comments and met with numerous stakeholders to explore privacy issues. Under the leadership of the National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee on Privacy and Internet Policy co-chaired by General Counsel Cameron Kerry, the Administration built on the Department of Commerce’s report to develop the Administration’s privacy blueprint.