March 11, 2019


Privacy 2.0: Assessing the U.S. Regulatory Framework and the Chance for Reform


It’s 2019, the Democrats have a majority in the House of Representatives, and tech policy is ripe for disruption. Coming off a year of political gridlock in Washington, many see 2019 as the year Congress will pass comprehensive privacy legislation – statutory law that both protects consumers and spurs continued investment in the tech sector.

In mid-2018, a DPI webinar took a look at the privacy debate; but in the months that have followed, a lot has changed. Here DPI revisits the debate and tackles some of the issues that, as evidenced by recent Congressional hearings, likely will come out of the 116th Congress. Will the Federal Trade Commission be the cop on the beat? Will states act faster than the federal government in passing legislation? And how can we create a more consistent framework across the entire digital ecosystem?

This Digital Policy Institute features a panel of nationally recognized policy, regulatory, and legal experts to discuss the future of privacy policy in the U.S.


* Jennifer Huddleston, Research Fellow, Mercatus Center

* Patrick Halley, Senior Vice President, Advocacy and Regulatory Affairs at USTelecom

* Bret Swanson, Visiting Fellow, American Enterprise Institute, and President of Entropy Economics LLC

* Moderator: Barry Umansky, Senior Fellow and Senior Policy Advisor, Digital Policy Institute


Patrick Halley, JD is Senior Vice President of Advocacy and Regulatory Affairs at USTelecom. He leads the association’s policy development and advocacy efforts before the White House and Executive Branch, regulatory agencies, courts, and other government entities in Washington, DC and beyond. Halley has held several senior positions working at the intersection of communications policy, law and technology. Prior to joining USTelecom, Patrick was a partner at leading communications law firm Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP, where he advised communications providers and trade associations on strategic, policy, and legal matters. He previously served at the Federal Communications Commission in numerous roles, including Associate Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau, Acting Director of the Commission’s

Office of Legislative Affairs, and as a legal advisor to two Wireline Competition Bureau Chiefs and a Chair of the FCC. Before joining the FCC, Halley spent over five years as the Director of Government Affairs for NENA – The 911 Association where he served as the association’s liaison with Congress, the FCC, and other government agencies.

Jennifer Huddleston, JD is a Research Fellow at the Mercatus Institute at George Mason University in Arlington, VA. Jennifer’s research focuses on the intersection of emerging technology and law with a particular interest in the interactions between technology and the administrative state. Her work covers topics including judicial deference, liability protection for Internet platforms, autonomous vehicles and other disruptive transportation technologies, the regulation of data privacy, and the benefits of technology and innovation. Her work has appeared in USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Daily News, the Sacramento Bee, the Washington Times, Real Clear Policy, and U.S. News and World Report. Jennifer has a JD from the University of Alabama School of Law and and a BA in political science at Wellesley College. She is also an alumna of the Mercatus Center’s Frédéric Bastiat Fellowship and the Charles Koch Institute’s Koch Associate Program. Prior to law school, Jennifer was a Teach for America Corps Member in the Mississippi Delta and worked for the Charles Koch Foundation.

Bret Swanson is a Visiting Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute’s technology research program. Additionally, he is President of Entropy Economics LLC, a technology research firm that advises institutional investors and technology companies. Bret also a fellow at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

His research and policy focus is on the impact of technology on the U.S. economy, telecommunications and Internet regulation. He presents his research on the growth of the Internet around the globe, writes a column for, and often contributes to the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal on technology and the economy. He also contributes articles and commentary in, and Computerworld, among others.

Bret, who studied economics at Princeton University, began his career as an aide to former Senator Richard Lugar and served as an economic analysis to former House member and Secretary of Housing, Jack Kemp, when both were at the free market advocacy group Empower American. For eight years Mr. Swanson advised technology investors as executive editor of the Gilder Technology Report and later was a senior fellow at The Progress & Freedom Foundation, where he directed the Center for Global Innovation.

Bret is a trustee and chairman of the Indiana Public Retirement System (INPRS), the state’s $30-billion pension fund, and is also a member of the investment committee at Indiana University Health.

Barry D. Umansky, JD is a professor in the Telecommunications Department at Ball State University and is a communications lawyer who has represented broadcasters and other electronic media and has had an extensive communications career in government and industry. Additionally, he is a senior fellow and the senior policy advisor with the Digital Policy Institute, a communications research and analysis “think tank” located at Ball State University in Indiana.

DPI regularly produces white papers and op-ed pieces on communications policy matters. Umansky produces and moderates, several times each year, DPI’s national video webinars.

After work at radio and TV stations in the Midwest during college and law school, he served for seven years as an attorney doing communications policy work at the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C. Mr. Umansky then became Deputy General Counsel with the National Association of Broadcasters (“NAB”) in Washington, D.C. During his twenty years at the NAB Legal and Regulatory Affairs Department, he had responsibilities for radio and television new technology and spectrum allocation issues, environmental and land use issues, station licensing and many other regulatory matters of key interest to broadcast stations and networks.

He has been a long-time member of the Federal Communications Bar Association (“FCBA”), including service as co-chair of its Mass Media Practice Committee. Umansky also served on the FCBA Foundation board for several years. He is a Past-President of the Kansas Association of Broadcasters Foundation, where he still serves as a board member. He also is a former board member and Past-President of the Broadcast Education Association, based in Washington, DC.

In April 2012, he was appointed by the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission to serve on the FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee (“CAC”). Reappointed by subsequent FCC chairpersons, he currently serves on the CAC and has been co-chair of several CAC working groups.