Members of the FTC and the FCC
National Association of Attorney Generals (NAAG)
National Governors Association (NGA)
We write to you as a bipartisan coalition of organizations representing a wide spectrum of constituencies to ask you to take action early this year in support of privacy protection for Americans. The right of privacy is a fundamental American value. It is recognized in our laws, in our business practices, our professional obligations, our electoral process, and our customs and traditions. Privacy protection builds trust and confidence in new business environments. Numerous opinion polls provide evidence of unprecedented public support for greater privacy protection.
But the opportunities for an individual to secure employment, insurance, and credit, to obtain medical care, to participate in electronic commerce and the right to due process, and other legal protection are endangered by the misuse of certain personal information. Americans lack basic privacy protections.
In order to protect the privacy of individuals in the information society, it is necessary and appropriate for public officials to take steps to safeguard this essential freedom. We therefore recommend the adoption of a comprehensive framework for privacy protection to safeguard the rights of Americans in the years ahead. The framework includes:
- The implementation and enforcement of strong Fair Information Practices, including the right to access one's own information held by others, to limit the use of the information, and to obtain redress when information is improperly used, as well as notice, consent, and security.
- The creation of a privacy commission to address emerging privacy issues.
- Limitations on new surveillance technologies, including locational tracking, video surveillance, and workplace monitoring.
- Support for genuine Privacy Enhancing Techniques that limit the collection and use of personal information.
We also recommend approaches that allow states to develop measures to supplement federal privacy standards. The optimum federal response is to set strong, basic privacy standards and to promote strategies at the state level and in the private sector for implementing them and offering additional protections as needed.
With the twenty-first century now upon us and the country increasingly dependent on sophisticated information systems, we urge the Administration and the Congress to take steps to ensure that the right of privacy will be protected in the years ahead.
We look forward to working with you on this important effort. We request separate meetings with the recipients of this letter on the above topics.
American Library Association
Center for Media Education
Consumer Federation of America
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW)
National Consumers League
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG)
National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC)
National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)