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ICYMI: Walden Talks Privacy and Data Security at the Bloomberg Law Event


09.23.19

Walden: “First and foremost, we need a national standard. Your privacy shouldn't be regulated by your zip code.”


Walden speaks at Bloomberg Law Leadership Forum. Click here to watch

WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) spoke at the Bloomberg Law Leadership Forum last week to discuss commonsense privacy principles and data security. Throughout the forum, Walden stressed the importance and need for a strong federal privacy bill built on the following principles:

  • Improve transparency, accountability, and security for consumers;
  • protect innovation and small businesses;
  • set one national standard.

Walden clearly outlined his priorities for a federal privacy bill and the non starters such as private right of action, which Walden said would unleash patent troll-like behavior on small businesses.

I look at a federal national privacy standard as the federal government needs to step in, set the rules of the road, and have understandable and effective enforcement tools,” said Walden. “But I don’t want to open it up to, in effect, a federally mandated trial bar bonanza where they just send the demand letter like trolls do and you just pay because it’s too expensive to fight.” 

Walden’s bottom line: “So that is a bright line for us – national standard and no private right of action.”

Here are a few key takeaways from Walden’s interview:

WATCH Walden on his top priorities for the national privacy bill:

“First and foremost, we need a national standard. Your privacy shouldn’t be regulated by your zip code. We need to have better transparency and accountability. Those who have our data need to live up to the standards they agree to live up to, and they ought to be more transparent and available to consumers. We are actually in pretty good discussions, its been fairly recent, but good discussions with our counterparts on the other side of the aisle about how we might be able to come to terms on a privacy bill, if we don’t then we risk having every state do this. I also want to make sure these laws, regulations, the federal standards, are not too onerous on small companies. I am an old small market broadcaster and I worry a lot about the high cost of federal mandates on small entrepreneurs and the effect that has on innovation.”

WATCH Walden on preemption and concerns about private right of action:

“We should look at what has worked and what has not worked in the GDPR… I don’t know how you have a national standard if you don’t have a preemption, right? Because otherwise states come in and just continue to do what they are doing. And as you say on your board here, 22 states already have some regulation in this space, but nothing like California. We ought to look at where they got it right, where we think they got it, I won’t say wrong, but where we can improve upon let’s say, recognizing the importance of that law and the size of that delegation to the process. I think there is a way to go forward. I don’t want to also have a federal mandated new patent troll trial bar that goes after every little business on a federal privacy standard.”

WATCH Walden on the need to protect innovation:

“Part of what we are looking at is how do you make sure that these incredibly creative people that do start literally in garages and dorm rooms and create worldwide global companies, have enormous magnitude in influence on society and commerce, how that can happen to the next generation of innovators, and not so burden them that they go somewhere else.”

WATCH Walden on the recent high-profile data breaches:

“You can continue to drive down and hold these companies accountable and there are certainly damages they end up having to pay. You look at the latest FTC fine on Facebook, 5 billion dollars, some say less, not much, but it is more than double than what GDPR’s top fine would be. There are tools of enforcement through the FTC that can be enhanced perhaps. I think it is also important to have clarity and transparency in what the rules of the road are of these companies when they say they have your data. What’s that agreement you and I have if you sign up for my app and I have your data? Is that fully disclosed and then do I follow that agreement, and if I don’t then there needs to be an enforcement mechanism.”

WATCH Walden on the states stepping in on enforcement:

“Because we have not set a national law…Again where you have transparency, accountability, where you do have an enforcement mechanism, and we will negotiate what all that looks like, and then there are clear bright lines. Then businesses can follow them. I worry about when we go to 50 different state models, 50 different standards, 50 different whatever and then you have Europe doing its thing and, the thing is, we’ve seen in some of the testimony before our committee that there is evidence of a 40 percent reduction in innovation and new start up companies in Europe since GDPR came into existence, now it may not be all related to GDPR, I am not saying that, but there is certainly indications that that’s playing some role in that reduction because we have had enormous increase in investment here and innovation at the same time.”

WATCH Walden’s bottom line on a federal privacy bill and private right of action:

“I look at a federal national privacy standard as the federal government needs to step in, set the rules of the road, and have understandable and effective enforcement tools. But I don’t want to open it up to, in effect, a federally mandated trial bar bonanza where they just send the demand letter like trolls do and you just pay because it’s too expensive to fight. We don’t need to create that. So that is a bright line for us – national standard and no private right of action.”

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