This post was also written by Chris Cwalina and Amy Mushahwar.

We’ve been busy here in Washington with two seminal privacy reports released within a span of two weeks.  At Reed Smith, our interdisciplinary team of former government officials, former in-house attorneys, class action litigators and engineers (in the US and internationally) are reviewing the releases and providing prompt insights for your review.  Below, please find a link to the reports, our most recent digests and our aptly timed teleseminar that occurred on the very day that the Department of Commerce released its privacy green paper.

On December 1, 2010, the Federal Trade Commission issued its long-awaited 123-page preliminary report on privacy, Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: A Proposed Framework for Businesses and Policymakers. The report is the most important and comprehensive guidance the FTC has ever issued in the privacy arena, and it has the potential to dramatically overhaul the way businesses think about privacy. More importantly, the document sets the stage, potentially, for a very different regulatory framework in Washington. For more detailed information on the FTC Report click here.  Comments are due on this report by January 31, 2011.

On December 16, 2010, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued its initial policy recommendation in a green paper, Commercial Data Privacy and Innovation in the Internet Economy: A Dynamic Policy Framework .  The Commerce green paper issued by the specially established Internet Task Force at the Department of Commerce lends another voice to the privacy debate and attempts to create a universal privacy baseline. While the report makes no recommendations to cover specific industry sectors that are addressed by existing privacy regulations, such as, healthcare, financial services and education, it is clear that the Department of Commerce would like to lead the regulatory agenda in the online privacy overhaul that is expected in 2011.  Check back here over the next few days for a more detailed look into the report.  Comments are due on this report by January 28, 2011.

We addressed both reports in yesterday’s teleseminar by privacy counsel Mark Melodia, Chris Cwalina, Paul Bond and Amy Mushahwar,  even though our team was still digesting the Commerce item that was released only hours before the teleseminar.  Our team described how the reports may apply to your business and provided a view from Washington regarding the complex regulatory and legislative road that may lie ahead for data privacy and cyber security issues. Feel free to listen to an audio recording of the event while watching the slide show.