State Officials Rebuked for Regulatory Fervor Concerning Online Privacy

Washington DC, January 4, 2001 – The Competitive Enterprise Institute this week took state attorneys general to task for endorsing an extreme set of measures designed to regulate online privacy policies.  In a letter to all fifty state attorneys general, analysts Solveig Singleton and Jessica Melugin laid out the case for a non-regulatory approach to privacy concerns, highlighting possible harm to small businesses, grassroots organizing, and political speech, among others.

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“While uncertainty surrounding new information technologies such as the Internet provides a strong impulse to regulate consumer privacy, market-based solutions and likely unintended consequences argue strongly against the position endorsed by the state attorneys general,” said policy analyst Jessica Melugin. 


The recommendations come from a recent report issued by the National Association of Attorneys General, which recommended increasing government control of privacy policies.  The conclusions rightly noted that consumers have a range of concerns about their privacy and the uses to which their personal information is put, but fails to appreciate the advantages of a customer-driven approach, returning repeatedly to the need for more centralized, bureaucratic rules.  


The Competitive Enterprise Institute has long supported the right of customers to choose their own level of privacy by patronizing the online services and financial institutions of their choice.  Online and financial privacy concerns are a key component of CEI’s Project of Technology & Innovation.



CEI, a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group founded in 1984, is dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government. For more information, please contact Richard Morrison, associate director of media relations, at [email protected] or 202-331-1010, ext. 266.