Groups push White House on privacy bill of rights

A coalition of more than three dozen privacy groups is urging the White House to push for privacy legislation.

The alliance marked the two-year anniversary of President Obama's "Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights," which he introduced two years ago, to call for a federal law codifying privacy protections in the United States.

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"The key to progress is the enactment by Congress of this important privacy framework," the coalition said in a letter to the White House sent Monday. "Only enforceable privacy protections create meaningful safeguards."

The groups that endorsed the letter included the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the ACLU, the American Library Association, the Center for Digital Democracy and Public Knowledge.

"Never has the need to update the privacy laws of the United States been more urgent," the letter said, pointing to recent events including revelations about government surveillance, recent high-profile data breaches and calls to rein companies that track consumers for marketing purposes.

Self-regulation has failed to protect U.S. consumers, the groups said, and the administration should codify its Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights to "establish baseline safeguards for the development of innovative services that take advantage of technology while safeguarding privacy."

The White House should "work with those in Congress who favor the privacy rights of Americans, who support updates to privacy law and who understand why this issue is so critical to so many Americans," the letter said.

"And let those who stand in the way explain to their constituents why they believe it is not necessary for Congress to do anything further to protect the fundamental rights of Americans."