US Rep Terry: The Proper Role for Privacy Regulation is Around Trade

Data is the new gold.  Every bit of data is a flake and you add it up and it’s really valuable. That’s why the new “Value of Data” study from the Data-Driven Marketing Institute (DDMI) is extremely important.

“I will do everything in my power to preserve the extremely important data economy,” said Representative Lee Terry (R-NE), Chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing & Trade, at a policy symposium hosted by DDMI this morning (October 29, 2013) at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.  “It’s not just big business, but small business too.  I think of app developers in Omaha, small businesses that rely on data for survival.

“When we think about the proper roles for regulation and government, it’s about trade,” he said, noting that his E&C Subcommittee has jurisdiction over regulatory restrictions to trade.  ”Our trade relationships with Europe will benefit from the findings in this study, when we can discuss the facts about the size and importance of this economy.

“Going to a European privacy position would be deadly for innovation as well as economic growth,” he said.  ”There is a reason why the U.S. is the dominant innovator in this area and Europe is not.

“When we can say that  a high quality study produced by a Harvard professor has revealed that $156 B and 675,000 jobs are dependent on the ability of firms to exchange data, we can now talk about both the costs and the benefits of data-driven marketing with confidence and authority.”

“The US has a long tradition of negotiating with Europe in manufacturing and other traditional areas of the economy. We must be vigilant now as a Congress to put privacy, commerce and trade together,” he said.

“This is all new ground, to think of privacy as a trade issue.  However, the overzealous policies of Europe have hindered commerce there, and are not the position we need to adopt in a trade agreement.”

Representative Terry talked about his formation of a Subcommittee task force to truly understand the issues and take a deep dive on all the complexities of privacy and data security.   “My goal is to get an understanding of trade issues important to stakeholders and to talk about the impact of regulation on cross border transfer of data of across nations,” he said.  Plans are for hearings to continue into next year.  ”We will be doing more data security hearings and we will have in future some notification of breach bill,” he said.

In sharing his personal experience of going to a store and knowing they will use data to provide mutual benefit, he suggested that marketing data is not scary to consumers.  ”I never heard from citizens that they are concerned about that kind of data use for marketing -instead, they are always concerned about the IRS or government agencies,” he said.

“I do expect, however, that the business will secure that data, especially any sensitive data like credit card information and that they will provide notice of any plans to use my data outside their business,” he said.

He plans to have the Subcommittee task force place “a wall between the issues of data security and privacy,” he said.

“We did that because security is what people expect when they know they are sharing data.  Frankly, it’s a lot more definable than privacy.  We aim to identify the issues within privacy that require legislation, and those areas that do not.  We will find consensus and d then we will move forward on a piece of legislation.”

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