AeA Unveils Federal Privacy Principles

The nation’s largest high-tech trade association, AeA (formerly the American Electronics Association), recently released principles to guide federal policy makers in considering balanced, preemptive privacy legislation that is sensitive to the needs of consumers and to the Internet’s economic and technical realities. The principles are in response to a vote of the AeA Board of Directors, responses received from AeA’s grass-roots network and heard during town hall meetings across the country -- at which member companies identified the possibility of multiple and conflicting state privacy regulations as one of the top legislative concerns for the coming year.

Addressing the involvement of state governments in online privacy, AeA’s President and CEO William T. Archey notes that federal pre-emption legislation "should play a crucial role in ensuring consistency and certainty" to the marketplace. "Only the federal government is in a position to create uniform U.S. privacy standards and work for international harmonization. Otherwise, online business could face 50 conflicting sets of privacy rules. Consumers and businesses alike would lose," he explains. "Federal legislation should not, however, attempt to replace or impede constructive private sector efforts, but rather build upon the baseline that they have laid down," he also stresses.

The AeA privacy principles are:

  • Provide individuals with notice.
  • Ensure consumer choice.
  • Leverage market solutions.
  • Ensure national standards.
  • Protect consumers in the public and private arena.
  • Don’t discriminate against the Internet.
  • Utilize existing enforcement authority.
  • Avoid conflicting or duplicative standards.

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