Net Neutrality/Data in New Congress? Don’t Hold Yer Breath

netneutrality.jpegWhat’s in store for Net neutrality, data security and other hot button Web issues now that the Dems are running Congress? InternetNews has a story that provides a bit of an indication, though at this point we can’t be sure how things will shake out.

The story implies admonishment of the Republican-led Congress for not passing “legislation involving network neutrality, data privacy, telecom reform, data security, electronic surveillance or data-breach disclosure requirements,” nor funding research along these lines.

I’m tempted to comment, but I’ll leave my two cents out of it.

Reporter Roy Mark asked Dave McGuire of the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) what he thought we could expect. Since over 50 House Dems were among those voting to turn back a telecom bill amendment involving net neutrality, McGuire commented, “I wouldn’t try to read the tea leaves on that one.”

He has more hope that some data privacy rules will be passed, as does Liz Gasster, general counsel for The Cyber Security Industry Alliance (CSIA), who said in the story, “I really believe something will get done about it this year….If there was ever momentum and a clear mandate, the time is now.” Evidently “jurisdictional disputes” are what held back data privacy bills from being passed in the last Congress.

Another CSIA representative said the multiple state laws dealing with this are a drag on e-commerce. Could be, but all signs are pointing to a boost in online sales this year, even increasing as Christmas neared.

Of course, the pundits interviewed noted this coming Congress will be preoccupied with other stuff, like, uh, the war and the budget. Oh, and let’s not forget about a little presidential race that’s already gearing up.

My bet is that we won’t see any federal legislation that does any more than pay lip service to the Net neutrality issue. Maybe something in the data security and privacy realm might hit the floor, but the fact is (and call me a cynic) the government wants access to any and all of our data for pretty much ever. That means it will be exempt from whatever laws are put in place, most likely making them moot where civil liberties are concerned. Remember CAN-SPAM, where they conveniently wrote themselves out of the law?

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