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ICYMI—Privacy Experts and E&C Leaders Agree: We’ve Waited Long Enough for a National Privacy Standard


06.16.22

People need more transparency and control over how their information is accessed, stored, and shared. House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (R-NJ), and U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee are leading on landmark bipartisan, bicameral draft legislation to strengthen privacy protections and data security for Americans. 

On Tuesday, the Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee held a legislative hearing on the American Data and Privacy Protection Act discussion draft, which would establish a national privacy and data security framework. This is just the first step in the regular order process as members continue to solicit constructive feedback from stakeholders and privacy leaders in Congress. 

KEY: As reported by Morning Consult, “voters overwhelmingly back major provisions of proposed Federal data privacy law. READ MORE 

Here’s what E&C Republicans are saying: 

Republican Leader, House Energy and Commerce Committee, Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) — “As I said in my 2019 principles to protect privacy and promote innovation, there needs to be one national standard, first and foremost. This draft stops an unworkable patchwork of state laws, ensures protections don’t change across state lines, and provides certainty to Americans and businesses.” 

“We also need to target data practices from bad actors that cause people harm. For example, because people should know how their data is collected and shared, this draft requires companies to specify when they are transferring and storing people’s data in countries like China, Russia, and Iran. 

[..] 

“Instead, we must allow for safe data practices and new innovations that people like. 

“This includes innovations that improve people’s lives by saving them money and time — like real-time updates to avoid traffic and better customer service products. 

“This principle to prevent real harms and from bad actors is especially important for protecting our children and minors, no matter where they live.  If Big Tech can’t target our kids, they can’t exploit our kids. Our bill addresses this with heightened requirements for how data of our children is handled, shared, and used.  

“Additionally, we need to foster stronger and improved data security practices. The American Data Privacy and Protection Act focuses on requiring companies to only keep information they need, while encouraging them to take steps to better secure data that is retained. 

“Finally, a national standard must be workable for small businesses and startups. 

“As we’ve learned by Big Tech gaining market share in Europe, large companies can navigate a complicated privacy standard like GDPR or a patchwork of state laws. But smaller businesses cannot afford high compliance costs and more ineffective regulations, especially with all the challenges they’re facing from the pandemic and inflation. We’re leading the way in this draft bill to unleash the power of small businesses and entrepreneurs, the engines of America’s economy. 

Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Republican Leader, Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee, House Energy and Commerce Committee —  “This draft establishes a delicate balance for putting control of data back into the hands of everyday Americans, while providing businesses with fair rules of the road and preserving their ability to innovate. 

“Every member on this committee can point to small mom-and-pop stores in their districts that they enjoy visiting, whether it’s a great restaurant with authentic cuisine or a local boutique shop selling homemade goods.  

“We recognize these businesses don’t have infinite resources but still need to collect data in order to make it in today’s economy, which is why the draft agreement excludes small businesses from certain requirements to lessen the potential burdens they would face, and it provides additional resources for them to help with compliance.” 

Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH)   “A preemptive national data-privacy and security bill clearly is a priority for consumers, for the economy, and to maintaining U.S. competitiveness. 

“I believe we must treat sensitive data, such as health information and government issued identifiers, with the upmost protection. I appreciate that this bill makes that distinction.” 

Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL)   “A national standard is necessary to give consumers the certainty that their date is protected from abuse and to provide clear regulatory guidance for industry to follow without stifling American innovation and competition.” 

Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ)  “I want to thank both the Republicans and Democrat[s] on the committee for working on this legislation. I think it’s a bipartisan issue, I don’t care if it’s Republicans or Democrats, people are concerned about the misuse of their private information. 

“This is very important legislation that needs to be done.” 

Rep. Greg Pence (R-IN)  “Provisions in this legislation like clear, conspicuous notice of privacy rights and expressed consent requirements would begin to empower consumers to control their own data and the data of their children.” 

Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN)  “Over the last 10 years we have seen too many instances of [companies collecting] my constituent’s data not [incorporating] adequate internal systems and protections for data they use which is why I’m glad that the draft includes privacy by design guidelines that accounts for things such as size of the company, the type of data, and the risks associated. 

“This draft also includes protections for data of users aged 13 through 17.  

I’m glad the draft legislation includes new regimes for these young people who are inevitably exposed to the good, the bad, and the ugly of the online world.” 

Members also heard from a panel of privacy expert witnesses. Here is what they had to say: 

Maureen K. Ohlhausen, Co-Chair, 21st Century Privacy Coalition — “This discussion draft shows that there is potential for a bipartisan path forward on this urgently needed legislation. The discussion draft incorporates a number of elements that the Coalition perceives as foundational privacy legislation.”  

Graham Dufault, Senior Director for Public Policy ACT | The App Association“We applaud this subcommittee and its counterparts for bringing us closer than we’ve ever been to a federal privacy law. 

“This draft takes us one step closer to a federal regime that enables consumers to access the digital tools they want in the manner they expect. 

 “This draft that we are considering here today is… more thoughtful when it comes to younger companies and small companies. 

“We’ve been calling for this subcommittee and others to ensure that there are ways that small companies can comply because our companies want to do that and they compete with much bigger companies… so the compliance program provides resources for small companies to do so.”  

John Miller, Senior Vice President of Policy and General Counsel Information Technology Industry Council“We have for several years shared your goal of enacting comprehensive federal privacy legislation. 

“This draft deserves to be considered by all stakeholders as the most credible bipartisan and bicameral effort yet to advance comprehensive federal privacy legislation in the United States. 

Doug Kantor, General Counsel, National Association of Convenience Stores“This issue is one that has bedeviled generations of lawmakers and generations of outside groups trying to find a national privacy law and it is a significant moment that we have a bipartisan compromise. 

“The ADPPA represents an important milestone on the road to achieving a national data privacy standard. Gaining bipartisan agreement on a privacy proposal is incredibly difficult. By doing that, the Act makes important progress toward our goal of national policy.  

“An important justification for a federal privacy law is that it can provide clear and consistent rules for consumers and businesses regardless of where they are located or operate across the nation. We appreciate that the Act includes language seeking to achieve this goal.” 

Bertram Lee, Senior Policy Counsel, Data Decision Making and Artificial Intelligence, Future of Privacy Forum“Compared to each of the five states that have passed privacy laws since 2018, the American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA) is more comprehensive in scope, more inclusive of civil rights protections, and provides individuals with more varied enforcement mechanisms.  

“ADPPA compares favorably to global frameworks, including Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 

Joline Cuaresma Senior Counsel, Privacy & Technology Policy, Common Sense Media “All consumers but especially our kids and teens deserve privacy and protection from online harms. 

“The American Data Privacy and Protection Act draft lays the groundwork for achieving these goals. It establishes important data protections with regards to civil rights and it seeks to minimize the collection and sharing of data which we have long maintained as the very first step to reducing online harms to our kids and teens.” 

Caitriona Fitzgerald, Deputy Director Electronic Privacy Information CenterWe do not need any more evidence that self-regulation doesn’t work. It’s put us in this crisis and it’s just going to get worse and worse until a strong privacy law is passed. 

“Technology companies have too much power and individuals too little, but it does not have to be this way. We can have a strong technology sector in the United States while protecting personal privacy. 

“The American Data and Privacy Protection Act presents congress with the opportunity right now to reclaim privacy as a meaningful right and to establish America as a global leader in privacy.”  

Click here to read the discussion draft bill text.   

Click here to read a section-by-section on the discussion draft. 

Click here to read what privacy experts are saying about our discussion draft. 

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