Online privacy self-regulation is unlikely to work, according to Representative Asa Hutchinson (Republican, Arkansas) who, along with many other politicos, has expressed concern at the number of voluntary privacy protection bodies now being set up by the internet industry and public interest lobby groups.

"Right now there's a danger of too many cooks spoiling the soup," said a spokesman for Tom Davis (Republican, Virginia), who supports the appointment of a government privacy tsar to co-ordinate information protection among federal agencies. "A centralized leader will be able to make information security one of the top priorities of the federal government," he said.

Privacy tops the agenda of industry and government leaders attending next week's sixth annual Technology Policy Summit at Aspen, Colorado. The event is sponsored by the non-profit Progress and Freedom Foundation, which studies the impact of the digital revolution on public policy.

Says PFF president Jeffrey Eisenach: “It's been a bumpy year for the digital revolution. I think you have a little bit of a growing-up process that's going on with companies just learning to act in a way that doesn't get them in trouble with consumers.”

News source: Wall Street Journal