Enforcing Privacy: Building American Institutions to Protect Privacy in the Face of New Technology and Government Powers


Privacy laws are of limited value if institutions for enforcing such laws do not exist. The United States, unlike nearly every other advanced-industrial nation, does not have an independent data protection official or privacy commissioner to fill that role. We recommend that Congress take several steps to bridge this gap:

1. Activate the independent Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) and expand its scope and powers to turn it into a full-fledged privacy body with oversight of all government agencies.

2. Supplement the strengthened PCLOB with multiple overlapping layers of privacy protection, by creating a statutorily mandated Privacy Advisor within the White House’s OMB, and bolstering and expanding federal agency privacy offices.

3. Create an independent federal privacy commission to serve as a full- fledged private-sector privacy regulator.

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