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Home > Privacy and Business > Congress' New Responsibility for New Privacy Laws


Congress' Responsibility for New Privacy Laws

If Congress is to impose new laws aimed at protecting privacy, it is particularly important that Congress alone take responsibility for the decisions it makes.

A growing practice in Washington over the last few decades has been the delegation of responsibility for hard decisions to bureaucracies in the Executive Branch. This has allowed Congress to take credit for good intentions, while denying responsibility for laws that are difficult or impossible to implement. It has undermined the accountability of elected officials, allowed unrestrained growth of the government, created a corresponding loss of individual freedom, and empowered the bureaucracy to have more control over American life than it should.

Privacy concerns vary with each individual. This means that it is very difficult to craft law that will satisfy Americans as both privacy-seekers and consumers, while protecting innovation and economic growth. Congress should not shirk its responsibility to make difficult decisions about privacy.

Any new privacy law must have narrow and specific terms that do not leave broad gaps to be interpreted by life-long bureaucrats in the federal agencies. Thoughtful and dedicated as those people are, they are not elected and they do not represent the views or interests of all Americans as elected representatives in Congress do.


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[updated 12/20/00]



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