As the Obama administration and tech company lobbyists chip away at the European Union’s attempts to protect online privacy, a new pro-industry coalition has popped up to join the fray. Not quite two weeks ago, the Coalition for Privacy and Free Trade announced its existence. The group’s senior academic adviser is Daniel Weitzner, who, less than two years ago, was working as the White House’s deputy chief technology officer for internet policy.
Weitzner tells Mother Jones that he joined the coalition because he wants to strengthen privacy laws while ensuring the free flow of information. He worked for the administration from March 2011 to August 2012, leading the development of the much-lauded Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, a blueprint that asserts Americans’ right to control what happens to their online data. Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, calls the document “a significant achievement” and says that “Danny deserves a fair amount of credit for it.” But, he adds, “the critical question is whether it will be enacted into law.” For now, its recommendations are voluntary. more