While consumers have a vocal advocate for increased privacy regulation in the federal government with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), they currently lack an advocate for reducing barriers to the free flow of information. To remedy this, the Department of Commerce, whose mission it is to advance economic growth, jobs and opportunities for all Americans, should become the champion of pro-innovation information policies, rather than focus on the more narrow issue of consumer privacy at the expense of other goals.
The Task Force writes:
Focusing exclusively on commercial data privacy, the PPO would be distinct from the existing roles and authorities of OMB and the senior privacy officers of Federal agencies. Similarly, the work of the PPO would not overlap with the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board’s mission to protect privacy and civil liberties in government collection and use of information in the exercise of its law enforcement, counter-terrorism, and foreign intelligence authorities. The PPO would work closely with OMB and other agencies and would coordinate with the FTC, which will continue to serve independent enforcement, rulemaking, agency policymaking, and education roles.
By creating an office that looks at data issues more broadly, rather than narrowly focusing on privacy, the Department of Commerce would be able to play a more strategic long-term role in encouraging economic growth in the United States in important data-intensive business sectors. The end result will be better policies that benefit American consumers through lower prices, more innovation and more choice.