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Why didn't the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights get through the U.S. Congress in 2012?

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Because no one really liked it. From The Atlantic:

Tech companies warned that the so-called "Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Act" would impose burdensome regulations, potentially stifling exciting new online services that could benefit consumers. Privacy advocates claimed the bill is riddled with loopholes and would essentially let companies write their own rules.

Also

Additionally, the bill would overturn state laws that offer stronger protections.

So

  1. Some think that its regulations would be too burdensome.
  2. Some think that it allows existing companies too much power in shaping regulations.
  3. Some think that it makes state regulations less powerful.

In other words, it was a giveaway to large corporations like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft. As all three of those things are good for them. Burdensome regulations keep competitors from growing. They could write their own regulations so the burden would be low on their current operations. They could weaken state regulations that are interfering with their operations.

  1. Small businesses didn't like it because it was aimed at quashing them in favor of their larger competitors.
  2. Ideological libertarians and conservatives didn't like it because it's a bunch of new government rules supported by new government bureaucracy.
  3. Privacy advocates didn't like it because it gave too much power to large corporations to control new "privacy" rules or to weaken existing state rules.

Large tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have more support among Democrats than Republicans. But Republicans controlled the House of Representatives at the time. And ideologically, Republicans oppose new regulation. And small businesses have channels interacting with Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats. So the measure was probably doomed even if privacy advocates had signed on. At best they might have brought some Democrats to the table, but it needed Republicans.

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