By Sara Jerome - 11/01/10 05:45 PM EDT
The ranking Republican on the House Communications subcommittee, Rep. Cliff Stearns of Florida, has worked on privacy bills in the past and partially collaborated on Boucher's bill.
"Since Stearns has authored privacy legislation during previous sessions of Congress, he can introduce legislation next Congress either with, or without, Boucher," said a former Stearns aide who now lobbies on telecom issues.
Stearns on Monday reiterated his commitment to privacy legislation.
“I have worked on developing privacy legislation from the time I was Chairman of the Commerce, Trade & Consumer Protection Subcommittee from 2001 to 2006 and I am still working on it," he said.
The congressman noted he does not support all the provisions of the Boucher bill. He said he "would like to see a bill" that is less prescriptive and "allows innovation to continue to flourish."
Jeff Chester, a longtime advocate for online privacy and the executive director of Center for Digital Democracy, said privacy is a concern for both parties.
"This is a bipartisan issue and where both sides can work together to protect consumers in the online marketplace. Privacy is a hot-button red and blue issue. Mr. Stearns has demonstrated a serious concern about ensuring American consumers are fairly treated when they go online," he said.