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The National Journal is reporting that Rep Rick Boucher (D-Va.), one of the two congressmen who drafted a proposed U.S. privacy bill, has said he will be meeting with industry and consumer organization representatives to make revisions to represent the broad range of interests affected by the bill.. Boucher also has called for written comments from interested parties by June 4.

Boucher, who is chair of the House Energy and Commerce Communications Subcommittee, introduced the draft bill along with the subcommittee’s ranking member Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) Earlier this week it met with a variety of reactions from advertising industry, trade press and privacy groups. (See Sunbelt Blog: “U.S. privacy bill: the battle lines form”)

Reactions ranged from “kill this bill” to “we look forward to working with Representative Boucher on this legislation” (which might mean the same thing).

Story here: “Boucher Seeking Written Comments on Privacy Bill”

Boucher web site here.

Stearns web site here.

I suspect this is going to be a long, hard fight. It’s an effort to balance Internet users’ need for privacy against enterprises need for information that can be used for targeted advertising. Somebody has to pay for all that great web content out there and advertisers are going to be that “somebody” for a long time, barring pay-per-view sites or an Internet tax (just kidding).

At the same time, there is the problem that information takes on a life of its own once it’s stored, sold and shared. One’s personal information can be used for legitimate (unobtrusive) advertising, in-your-face annoying advertising and even identity theft.

We predict that a perfectly-balanced bill, if it would be possible to craft such a thing, would still be disliked to some degree by nearly everyone.

But, that’s why they call it “comp-ro-mise.”

Tom Kelchner