If you're in Washington, D.C., this week, you should stop by the National Press Club for The Great Privacy Debate tomorrow over lunch starting at noon ET. I'll be moderating the event.
The debate topic couldn't be more timely: "Consumer privacy can be adequately protected without new legislation." It comes as Congress and other state and national legislatures are considering new laws in this area (we'll be starting promptly at noon so we can end in time for folks to attend a Senate hearing on facial recognition technology at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Taking the no-additional-laws-are-needed side in the debate are TechFreedom President Berin Szoka and Mercatus Center Senior Research Fellow Adam Thierer. Opposing them are EPIC Executive Director Marc Rotenberg and Andrew Keen, author of the recently published Digital Vertigo: How Today's Online Social Revolution Is Dividing, Diminishing, and Disorienting Us.
Meanwhile, reports at CNET and elsewhere are highlighting how consumer privacy is in a state of flux, with Facebook acknowledging last week that it scans conversations for evidence of criminal behavior, the Federal Trade Commission filing a lawsuit against hotel chain Wyndham Worldwide over allegedly poor privacy and security practices, and the Obama administration pushing a so-called privacy bill of rights. Path, Twitter, Apple, Facebook, and other mobile app makers have been accused of automatically uploading user address books without permission.
On the other hand, the fact that the FTC is pursuing a lawsuit and Apple and others are fending off a separate lawsuit seeking class action status could be an argument that current laws are working. Look for both points to come up at the National Press Club debate tomorrow. Join us! The address is 529 14th Street NW.