AeA Pushes for Federal Privacy Legislation

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AeA, a hi-tech trade group formerly known as the American Electronics Association, last week released its proposed principles for federal privacy legislation, which it strongly favors over state legislation.

"Only the federal government is in a position to create uniform U.S. privacy standards and work for international harmonization," said William T. Archey, president/CEO of AeA. "Federal legislation should not, however, attempt to replace or impede constructive private-sector efforts but rather [should] build upon the baseline that they have laid down."

The seven principles set forth by the AeA for federal legislation are: provide individuals with notice; ensure consumer choice; leverage market solutions; ensure national standards; protect consumers in the public and private arenas; do not discriminate against the Internet; and use existing enforcement authority.

Although most of the technology industry favors self-regulation, privacy advocates see the AeA proposal as a push for weak federal legislation as opposed to tougher state laws.

The organization claims that 50 different sets of state-mandated privacy rules would be disastrous for businesses as well as consumers.

In mid-2001, the AeA plans to publish a free consumer guide to privacy protection.

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