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Senator Unveils Net Privacy Bill

Senate Commerce Committee member Ernest Hollings (Dem., S.C.) introduced the "Consumer Privacy Protection Act," in May, 2000, which aims to require consumer consent for information use and offers "limited protections in the offline world." Web sites that collect and use personal consumer data would be required to gain those consumers' consent under the new privacy bill. In addition to requiring "opt-in" consent, the bill also calls for Web sites to clearly display their privacy policies, access to identifiable information and the ability to modify it, and specific procedures for data. The bill's introduction comes as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) plans to outline its proposal for asking Congress to give the agency broader power to regulate online privacy.

The bill also calls on the FTC to undertake further privacy studies and offer more recommendations on improving privacy. The measure also would direct the National Institute of Standards and Technology to launch a research and development program on computer security issues that would "complement private sector research." Hollings' bill joins a growing list of legislation tackling online privacy, as well as financial and medical data protection.

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