Senators Push Hard On Privacy, Form New Groups

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Sen. Richard Shelby, R-AL, announced the formation of a new bipartisan privacy group Tuesday, dubbed the Congressional Privacy Caucus, while Sen. Tom Daschle, D-SD, said he was creating a Senate Democratic Privacy Task Force.

Sen. Shelby and Rep. Edward Markey, D-MA, who opposed each other on bank legislation - will co-chair the new Congressional Privacy Caucus with Sen. Richard Bryan, D-NV, and Rep. Joe Barton, R-TX.

Daschle said Americans' most sensitive and private data was ending up on databases and then being sold to the highest bidder. "That is wrong, it's dangerous and it has to stop," he said.

Although Congress enacted sweeping new measures last November overturning Depression-era banking, which now allow securities firms and insurance companies to pursue each other's business, Daschle said more laws are still needed in relation to privacy.

The lawmaker's privacy groups are expected to address several issues at both the state and federal levels, ranging from the implementation of more safeguards over consumers' financial data to the possible regulation of patients' medical records and how they are transmitted over the Internet.

At least 27 states are considering new privacy-related regulations at the local level.

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