by Alea J. Mitchell
Obama Seeks Secure Online Identities
The White House Blog announced that President Obama released the “National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace” (PDF), a plan to improve online security and e-commerce. The proposal is aimed at combating online fraud and identity theft, and calls on the private sector to design a trusted identity system to better protect an increasingly wired culture. Wired reports the proposal distances itself from a national ID approach and instead urges the private sector to develop ways for consumers to create privacy-enhancing secure identity credentials that will enable safer online transactions.
Senators Kerry and McCain Propose Online Privacy Legislation
Wired reports that Senators John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) and John McCain (R-Arizona) introduced on Tuesday the Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights, online privacy legislation that would allow web users to demand websites stop tracking and selling their online behavior. The bill aims to regulate how identifiable information is used, stored, and distributed. Ars Technica reports that consumer groups criticize the bill for shying away from overt “Do Not Track” legislation, giving special interest treatment to social media marketers, and creating a conflict of interest by allowing the Department of Commerce to influence privacy policies.
House Votes to Repeal Net Neutrality Rules
Reuters reports that the House of Representatives voted last Friday to reject the FCC’s net neutrality rules, which were adopted last year and bar Internet service providers from blocking or interfering with traffic on their networks. The Hill reports that Republicans, who oppose the rules, claim the FCC lacks authority to regulate the Internet and that net neutrality rules impose unwarranted government regulation over an open and thriving Internet. The largely partisan effort is expected to fail once the legislation reaches the Democratic-controlled Senate. As Wired reports, the vote is largely symbolic, as President Obama has promised to veto any legislation proposing to reverse the rules.
Congress Revisits COICA
Ars Technica reports that the battle over the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) is heating up again as both chambers draft amended versions of COICA, set to be rolled out in coming weeks. Last November, JOLT reported on the bill, which would grant the Attorney General power to seize domain names through in rem action and require online ad services and credit card companies to stop working with blacklisted sites, with the goal of targeting foreign piracy and counterfeiting sites not easily reached by US courts. While the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved the bill, it never made it to the Senate floor, owing to efforts of Senator Ron Wyden, who has again vowed to oppose the bill. Wired reports that Google’s Kent Walker testified at one of two recently held House hearings to oppose the Act, particularly the private right of action a COICA claim would give rightsholders. The Citizen Media Law Project laments the bill’s return.