Senators split over privacy legislation

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"We need to thoroughly examine the issue and make sure we don't apply a solution in search of a problem," Toomey said, adding he's not sure which entity should be in charge of setting and enforcing privacy standards.

Federal Trade Commissioner Julie Brill said she has been a proponent of allowing industry to self-regulate with regards to Rockefeller's Do Not Track provision. She said the makers of Web browsers have made significant progress on technology-driven solutions to let users opt out of online tracking, but unless all the disparate ad networks agree to comply she's not convinced self-policing can work.

Two issues upon which members appeared to be in agreement were the need for a national data breach reporting standard and that the committee should be the home of any privacy legislation. The Judiciary Committee has signaled it intends to pursue the issue in recent months, sparking concern among staffers of a potential turf war that could derail the debate.

Rockefeller has offered a data breach bill with Sen. Mark PryorMark Lunsford PryorTom Cotton's only Democratic rival quits race in Arkansas Medicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 Cotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation MORE (D-Ark.) that has drawn industry support; there are also several similar measures being considered in the House. A national data breach reporting standard appears likely to pass this year either as part of comprehensive privacy or security legislation or as a stand-alone measure.