Senate to examine Obama plan for online privacy ‘bill of rights’

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will examine the Obama administration's plan to protect users' online privacy at a hearing on May 9, committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) announced Wednesday.

The White House announced its "Privacy Bill of Rights" in February. 

The guidelines declare that consumers have the right to control the data that groups collect on them and the right to access that data. The administration said privacy policies should be easy to understand and companies should protect user data from hacking and leaks.

The administration urged Congress to enact the guidelines into law.

In March, the Federal Trade Commission released its own report on online privacy. The report outlined voluntary standards that companies should adopt to protect users' privacy. The commission also recommended that Congress enact certain protections into law.

“The Obama administration and the FTC have recommended that Congress provide consumers with basic privacy protections,” Rockefeller said in a statement. “Unfortunately, consumers are often unable to protect their privacy in a digital environment in which their personal information is increasingly collected and monetized for commercial purposes. At this hearing, I hope to have a robust discussion on how the administration and FTC propose to empower Americans so that they can say if, when and how their information is collected and used.”

A witness list was not immediately available.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee's subcommittee on Manufacturing and Trade held its own hearing on the privacy recommendations in March.

Subcommittee Chairwoman Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) expressed skepticism about "big government rules of the road" for privacy.