The White House looks to coordinate online privacy plan

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The White House is in the early stages of determining what a federal approach to online data privacy should look like. The preliminary conversations show that the White House wants a voice in the contentious domestic and global debate about how to protect consumer privacy online. Gail Slater, special assistant to President Donald Trump for tech, telecom and cyber policy at the White House National Economic Council, has met with industry groups to discuss possible ways to put in place guardrails for the use of personal data, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter. Apparently, there are several possible outcomes from the conversations the White House is having:

  • An executive order directing one or more agencies to develop a privacy framework. That could direct the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an arm of the Commerce Department, to work with industry and other experts to come up with guidelines. The process would likely be similar to the one the Obama administration launched on cybersecurity in 2013. Congress later supported the continued work on the standards, and President Trump required the use of the framework to help manage government agencies' cyber risk.
  • An executive order could also kick off a public-private partnership to lay out voluntary privacy best practices, which could become de-facto standards.¬†However, it's unclear how an executive order would affect the Federal Trade Commission, which is an independent agency charged with keeping an eye on private sector privacy issues.

The White House looks to coordinate online privacy plan