Two Senators who clearly did not let the potential government work stoppage affect them, formally introduced the Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2011 on April 12.  In a bipartisan effort, Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and John McCain (R-Arizona) introduced the legislation which sets forth privacy rules governing businesses that collect, use, or share personal data.

Under the bill, the Federal Trade Commission is given rulemaking and enforcement power.  Additionally, the bill would require covered entities to implement comprehensive privacy by design programs and provide clear disclosures of their data-collection practices.  Further, the FTC would be given authority to approve nongovernmental organizations to oversee safe harbor programs for firms that complied with approved self-regulatory schemes.

While passage of national privacy legislation has proven difficult in the past, companies must remain aware of these legislative updates, especially when they are of a bi-partisan nature.