A Congressman is encouraging the White House to “fulfill the promise of the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights” by introducing legislation to implement it – and not to forget to include the Congressman's own bill in the process.

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA-04) wrote a letter to President Obama encouraging him to roll-out comprehensive consumer data privacy legislation based on the President’s proposal from last year, continue pursuing privacy advances through multistakeholder processes like the NTIA multistakeholder process for mobile apps privacy in which MRA participated, and to take up Rep. Johnson’s legislation “as a foundation for protecting consumers’ privacy on mobile devices.”

Rep. Johnson introduced the legislation in question earlier this year, the Application Privacy, Protection and Security (APPS) Act (H.R. 1913). It would require significant transparency and data minimization in mobile apps’ data practices. While we appreciate the safe harbor he would grant for adoption of codes developed through multistakeholder processes like the NTIA multistakeholder process, MRA has particular concerns about the definitions in the APPS Act, particularly empowering the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to define crucial terms like “personal information” and “deidentified data.” Given enough leeway, the FTC would almost certainly define those terms in a manner detrimental to survey, opinion and marketing research practices.

As the Congressman noted in a keynote address at the State of the Mobile Net Conference, “more companies are looking to mobile as the future of media… [and] minorities are more likely to access the internet from a mobile device than from a stationary computer.” The confluence of those factors, Rep. Johnson has said, is driving his interest.