Although Congress appears preoccupied with other issues, there has been news regarding privacy legislation. As noted previously on the blog, HR 2221 passed the House on December 8th. The bill, with co-sponsors in both parties, has been referred to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
Earlier this month, the primary comprehensive Senate privacy bill, S 1490 introduced by Sen. Leahy, received a cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office. The CBO found that the implementation costs for the bill, which includes a breach notice requirement, would likely exceed $139 million in at least one of its first five years after the effective date. This scoring would result in the bill being labeled as an unfunded mandate on businesses, though the report found that preemption of state laws on the subject would off-set some of the implementation costs. The bill and a narrower breach notice bill, S 139, were approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in November. The CBO report found that implementation costs to government agencies covered by S 1490 likely would not exceed the $69 million threshold to be deemed an unfunded mandate.
The Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, Rep. Boucher, announced his intention to introduce a data privacy bill that would include additional opt-out and opt-in rights for consumers in the sharing of the consumer’s personal information. Rep. Boucher stated that he is working with the subcommittee’s ranking member on a bill he hopes to introduce in early 2010.