House Subcommittee Starts Work on Online Privacy

Reps. Blackburn and Welch to co-chair bipartisan working group

A House subcommittee is beginning work on online privacy issues the way most things in Washington are done: by forming a committee. Rep. Lee Terry (R-Nev.), chairman of the House subcommittee on commerce, manufacturing and trade and ranking member Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) launched a bipartisan privacy working group on Thursday to examine online privacy concerns and issues.

The committee's goal, said Terry, is to "agree on principles and determine what we need to fix or if we need to fix anything," he said in a statement.

Terry has been slower to take up privacy issues than his predecessor, former Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.), who held several hearings on privacy during her tenure. Establishing the working group is the first indication that Terry is ready to join the ongoing privacy debate in Washington.

House commerce vice chair Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who has been an active participant on many online privacy panels, will co-chair the group with Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.). Other members of the group include Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.), another privacy issue vet; Rep. Pete Olson (R-Tex.), Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kans.), Schakowsky, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), and Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.)