Microsoft on Thursday called for a broad national law to protect consumer privacy, and a top Republican lawmaker said he planned to push such a bill next year, amid heightened consumer concerns about identity theft and online fraud.
“This is the time, this is the place, we believe, for the government to adopt privacy legislation on a national basis,” Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith said at a lunch event.
Texas Republican Rep. Joe Barton, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said at a separate event that he plans to introduce a comprehensive privacy bill next year.
High-tech businesses, including Microsoft, helped block attempts to pass a national privacy law in 2001 and 2002, arguing that businesses can be trusted to handle consumer profiles responsibly.
Since then, most Fortune 500 companies have developed “privacy policies” that spell out, often in dense legalese, what they do with credit card numbers, birthdates and other information consumers give to them.