Senate Commerce Committee schedules online privacy hearing on March 16

The Senate Commerce Committee announced it will hold its second hearing on online privacy next Wednesday, March 16.

“Modern technology has connected people with the world and led to new innovations, new products and new experiences,” chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said in a statement.

“But with these new opportunities come new risks. I want to know if the privacy protections we have in place are enough, or whether Congress needs to step in and do more. As Chairman, I’m committed to doing everything I can to protect consumers’ privacy.”

Rockefeller said consumer privacy online is a top priority for him as committee chair. Both the Federal Trade Commission and the Commerce Department have released reports in recent months calling for better privacy protections for consumers online.

The FTC has thrown its support behind a "do not track" mechanism for Web browsers to prevent online ad firms from tracking consumers' browsing habits. Several browser manufacturers have begun adding the feature to their products, but the FTC has said legislation may still be necessary.

The hearing will take place at 10am at Russell Senate Office Building.