Jay Rockefeller retirement shakes up privacy battle

Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s announcement that he’ll retire in 2015 is the latest personnel move in a month that has thrown the legislative end of the online consumer privacy world into flux.
The West Virginia Democrat, who’s been the upper chamber’s most vocal proponent of strengthening online privacy laws, is the third privacy hawk in three weeks to make news for potentially being on the move. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who co-introduced a privacy bill of rights in April 2011, has been tapped by President Barack Obama for secretary of state. That opens a Senate seat in Massachusetts that longtime privacy hawk and Democratic Rep. Ed Markey wants and is likely to be focused on this session.
Those three aren’t the only lawmakers interested in a growing technological issue — Democratic Sens. Al Franken of Minnesota, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Mark Pryor of Arkansas have all made waves on consumer privacy and Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) has been alongside Markey in the House. But the trio has been a standard-bearer, and the moves throw an issue, which was in many ways on target for a breakout year in 2013, somewhat up in the air.
Rockefeller, who has served more than 25 years in the Senate and has been a privacy leader from his perch as chairman of the powerful Senate commerce committee, still has a full two years left in the upper chamber. And his announcement Friday raises the question: Does the two-year time frame fuel the fire among him and his colleagues to pass an online privacy bill — or does it give opponents more resolve to run out the clock?
Rockefeller, for his part, made clear during remarks announcing his decision that he plans to continue playing at full speed over the next two years — making a specific reference to making the “Internet more safe.”
“Let me say clearly that I have every intention of keeping up this intensity — this no-holds-barred approach to solving problems that affect people’s lives — for the rest of my Senate term and well beyond,” he said.

Source and read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/01/rockefeller-retirement-shakes-up-privacy-battle-86107.html#ixzz2HzGWOkrK

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