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Privacy Coalition Wants Legislators to Sign a Pledge

(February 12, 2001) A collection of groups named the Privacy Coalition will hold a press conference in Washington DC on February 12 to release a document named "The Privacy Pledge." The coalition wants Members of Congress and state legislators to sign this pledge to support a list of online privacy proposals.

The document pledges its signatories to support a broad set of privacy related proposals that go far beyond the four information practices that have been recommended by a majority of the Commissioners of the Federal Trade Commission: notice, consent, security, access. See, Privacy Online: Fair Information Practices in the Electronic Marketplace, May 20, 2000 [776 KB in PDF].

The pledge also adds the new principles of correction, use limitations, and remedies. The pledge also rejects the notion of industry self regulation groups.

Finally, the pledge also contains several privacy principles that are not related to online activity, including locational tracking, video surveillance, and workplace monitoring.

The membership of the Privacy Coalition is narrow. It is made up mostly of consumer, civil liberties, and privacy groups: it includes the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), American Association of Law Libraries, American Library Association, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Center for Media Education, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, Eagle Forum (Phyllis Schlafly), United Auto Workers (UAW), Junkbusters, Media Access Project, National Consumers League, Privacy Times, and U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG).

Absent from this list of members is the Washington DC based Center of Democracy and Technology, which is active on privacy issues.

Also, no Internet or computer industry groups, such as the Information Technology Association of America or the Software and Information Industry Association, are members of the Privacy Coalition. Nor are there any software companies, equipment manufacturers, online retailers, or seal groups in the coalition.

The Privacy Pledge reads as follows:

The Privacy Pledge
Privacy is one of America's most fundamental values. The Fourth Amendment states that "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated." In addition, the U.S. has adopted many laws protecting Americans from privacy invasive practices by both the public and private sectors.
Recognizing the need to protect this essential freedom, I, (insert Member's name), pledge to my constituents in (State and District) and to the American people that I will support a privacy framework to safeguard the rights of Americans in this information age.
This framework includes:
1. the Fair Information Practices: the right to notice, consent, security, access, correction, use limitations, and redress when information is improperly used,
2. independent enforcement and oversight,
3. promotion of genuine Privacy Enhancing Technologies that limit the collection of personal information and legal restrictions on surveillance technologies such as those used for locational tracking, video surveillance, electronic profiling, and workplace monitoring, and
4. a solid foundation of federal privacy safeguards that permit the private sector and states to implement supplementary protections as needed.



The press conference to announce "The Privacy Pledge" will be held in the First Amendment Lounge of the National Press Club, Washington DC, at 9:30 AM, on Monday, February 12.

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