Report: Internet companies doubt passage of privacy legislation

Josh Peterson | Tech Editor

Technology and Internet firms are expressing doubts that Congress will address online privacy in the current session, despite promises from top lawmakers that the issue would be on their legislative calendar.

Michael Beckerman, CEO of the Washington, D.C. lobby firm The Internet Association, told The Hill in a Saturday report, “I don’t anticipate [comprehensive privacy legislation] getting done this year.”

An unnamed technology lobbyist cited by the publication also said that online privacy was just not “a front-burner issue right now.”

The chairmen of two key congressional committees, however, have made a point in recent weeks of announcing that they would be taking digital privacy seriously this year by working to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont stated in a January speech at Georgetown University Law Center that online privacy would be a key legislative issue for his committee in the coming weeks.

Republican Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, also agreed in late January to take up the issue.

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