The White House released President Obama’s long-awaited draft comprehensive data privacy bill at the end of the day on Friday, which is supposed to operationalize his Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.

"We appreciate the White House proposing this legislation," commented Howard Fienberg, director of government affairs for the Marketing Research Association (MRA). "MRA has long sought a baseline privacy law and the survey, opinion and marketing research profession broadly shares the Obama Administration’s goals of transparency, consumer control over their data, and reasonable data security."

"This bill’s focus on context in the collection, sharing and use of personal data is an interesting development -- so complicated as to be difficult to enshrine in legalese, but worth exploring. The envisioning and privileging of privacy review boards and the further encouragement of industry codes of conduct also show promise," Howard observed.

He continued: "However, much of this legislation is too vague to endorse, and the bill is at least three years too late. The apex of interest on Capitol Hill in a comprehensive data privacy solution occurred back in 2011-12, when multiple bills were circulating and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and White House released privacy reports. Interest in Congress has long-since cooled off, and although the White House has been promising this draft bill for many years, it was released with zero fanfare late on a Friday afternoon. This draft is likely going nowhere fast.”

“Thankfully,” Howard concluded, “the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) already has extensive authority to protect consumer privacy and security, and enforce companies’ publicly-stated adherence to industry codes of conduct (including MRA’s Code of Marketing Research Standards). We will continue to support them in their mission and work towards our common goals.”

MRA members will get an extensive analysis of the President’s draft privacy legislation soon.