Legislative

White House unveils "Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights"

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The Obama administration released its "Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights" for web consumers on Feb. 23, aimed at giving people more control over how their personal information is collected and used online.

Kerry, McCain-sponsored privacy 'bill of rights' introduced in Senate

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US Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) introduced federal privacy legislation on April 12 that would require companies to provide consumers with opt-out mechanisms and to notify consumers of the collection and use of personally identifiable information (PII) both online and offline. However, the Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2011 does not include a Do Not Track provision.

Obama administration backs 'online bill of rights'

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The Obama administration urged Congress to create federal legislation that would allow consumers new online privacy rights and give the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforcement authority, federal officials told a Senate committee on March 16. Lawrence Strickling, an assistant secretary within the Commerce Department, said the White House "recommends that legislation set forth baseline consumer data privacy protections - that is a consumer 'privacy bill of rights.'"

Judge blocks Colorado e-commerce tax law

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A federal judge has temporarily blocked a Colorado law that required out-of-state online retailers to notify the state of residents' purchases in order to collect sales tax from individual shoppers. The law also required multichannel retailers to notify consumers what tax they owed the state.

Consumer privacy data draft bill violates First Amendment, says industry group

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NetChoice, an industry coalition that counts AOL, eBay and Yahoo among its members, has declared that the consumer data privacy draft bill put forward by U.S. Reps Rick Boucher (D-VA) and Cliff Stearns (R-FL) last month, violates the First Amendment.

Congressmen float wide-reaching consumer data bill

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US Reps. Rick Boucher (D-VA) and Cliff Stearns (R-FL) released on May 4 a discussion draft of legislation that would codify numerous industries' use of consumer data on the web.

Senators indicate support for Postal Service reform in subcommittee hearing

Sen. Tom Corburn (R-OK), a frequent critic of the US Postal Service, emerged as an unlikely champion of the agency's 10-year plan to revise its business model at an April 22 Senate subcommittee hearing.

Industry groups demand no FTC power expansion in financial reform bill

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Forty-one US trade organizations and business groups, including the Direct Marketing Association, the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the National Retail Federation, sent a letter to Senate leaders on April 22, urging them not to expand the Federal Trade Commission's powers as part of financial reform.

USPS rescue plan passes House, Senate up next

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HR 22, the United States Postal Service Financial Relief Act of 2009, has passed the US House of Representatives, but postal officials say action in the Senate is needed quickly to head off potential problems. The bill cuts a required payment to postal retirees' health fund from $5.4 billion to $1.4 billion. The payment is due September 30, and unless a similar bill passes the Senate and is signed by the President by then, the USPS must still make the full amount.

New FTC regulations put limits on robocalls

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A new FTC rule goes into effect on September 1 prohibiting prerecorded commercial telemarketing calls to consumers, also known as robocalls, without written permission from the consumer.

USPS revisits schedule for branch closures

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In the wake of declining mail volumes and over-the-counter retail transactions, the US Postal Service has updated its stance on closing postal branches nationwide. In May, the agency announced it was considering the closure of 3,105 of its 4,851 post office branches and stations. It amended that figure to less than 1,000 closures, to be done no earlier than October 2.

Feds ponder regulating the blogosphere and social media sites

Feds ponder regulating the blogosphere and social media sites

In case you haven't heard, the Federal Trade Commission is pondering whether to impose new guidelines on bloggers and Twitter users who stand to receive compensation for their marketing work. The FTC's concern is that some bloggers may not disclose that they're earning commissions from a particular company when they write a blog that promotes that company's products.

Amendments to postal bill rile unions

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The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee delayed its vote on the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Funding Reform Act of 2009 (S. 1507) at a business meeting on July 29. Instead, the committee, chaired by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), made four amendments to the bill that restrict employee bonuses, increase the annual allowable debt for the agency and require expedited reporting on the USPS's financial health.

Industry reacts to self-reg proposals on BT

Industry reacts to self-reg proposals on BT

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The industry took a significant step in the behavioral targeting and privacy debate by releasing seven best practices principles for behavioral targeting on July 2.

USPS high-density decrease approved, questions of cap on decrease raised

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Commercial and nonprofit mailers of US Postal Service Standard Mail high-density flats, mail pieces delivered to each address on a delivery route, will enjoy new minimum per-piece price decreases of 0.1 cent. The decreases kick in on July 19. In addition, mailers will see decreases to the pound price element that match the Standard Mail Saturation rate. The Postal Regulatory Commission approved the rate on July 1, potentially setting a new precedent on how to address a rate decrease in a period of deflation.

Internet marketers, Web publishers, privacy groups eye House BT hearings

Internet marketers, Web publishers, privacy groups eye House BT hearings

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The battle over behavioral targeting legislation continued Thursday when members of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet met with the Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection Subcommittee.

Data quality is a customer service issue

Direct marketing relies upon reaching a targeted audience, based on customer data gleaned from point-of-sale, subscriptions and purchased lists. The potential for error when dealing with thousands or millions of customer records is indisputable and sometimes devastating. The horror stories are well-known: companies sending credit card offers to pets, children or even the deceased? These mistakes are inexcusable and easily avoided using basic data quality solutions.

FedEx campaign targets UPS support of labor bill

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A multimillion-dollar ad campaign was launched today by FedEx to target UPS' support of legislation that would make it easier for FedEx employees to unionize. The campaign includes a Web site, brownbailout.com, which asks consumers, "Why is mega-corporation UPS trying to use its political clout to get a bailout from the U.S. Congress, leaving you to pay the tab?"

Summer Sale starts July 1 for eligible mailers

Summer Sale starts July 1 for eligible mailers

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The Postal Regulatory Commission unanimously approved the US Postal Service's summer sale, formally known as the Standard Mail Volume Incentive Pricing Program, on June 4.

The PRC approves the USPS summer sale

The PRC approves the USPS summer sale

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The Postal Regulatory Commission today unanimously approved the US Postal Service's proposal to implement a "summer sale" or Standard Mail Volume Incentive Pricing Program. The seasonal rates are scheduled to take effect on July 1.

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