Data privacy has become an increasingly important issue, fueled by massive breaches that have compromised personal information of millions of U.S. internet and social media users, spurring Congressional hearings. California and the European Union have both adopted data protection rules.
Reuters reported on Friday that David Redl, a senior U.S. Commerce Department official who oversees the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, said in a speech on that day to the Internet Governance Forum USA in Washington that the administration recently had "began holding stakeholder meetings to identify common ground and formulate core, high-level principles on data privacy."
White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said the administration, through the White House National Economic Council, "aims to craft a consumer privacy protection policy that is the appropriate balance between privacy and prosperity. ... We look forward to working with Congress on a legislative solution consistent with our overarching policy."
Facebook said earlier this year that the personal information of about 70 million U.S. users was improperly shared with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica. U.S. lawmakers have also demanded answers from Facebook about the data it shared with four Chinese companies.
Reuters' sources claim that more than 20 meetings have been held so far, which included major internet companies like Facebook and Google parent company Alphabet Inc, along with internet providers like AT&T and Comcast and trade associations. The Washington also Post reported details of the meetings on Friday.
Redl said the administration plans to publish "high-level principles" and seek public comment as it seeks to develop a nationwide data privacy plan.
In May, the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) forced companies to be more attentive to how they handle customer data.