|On Capitol Hill, privacy issues have been the subject of hearings and proposed legislation but little forward action towards enacting a federal privacy bill.
Recent Congressional hearings that have touched on privacy issues have included one in the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Transforming the FTC: Legislation to Modernize Consumer Protection; a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Big Data, Big Questions: Implications for Competition and Consumers; and a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Protecting Consumer Privacy.
Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., have introduced the Setting and American Framework to Ensure Data Access, Transparency, and Accountability (SAFE DATA) Act. Focusing on children’s privacy issues, Representative Kathy Castor, D-Fla., introduced the Protecting the Information of our Vulnerable Children and Youth Act. So far in the current session of Congress well over 100 bills have been introduced addressing some form of privacy, Sec. 230 or social networks and platform reforms.
There is near unanimity among lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, consumer advocates and the tech and advertising industries that everyone would be well served by a strong national privacy law. There is even broad agreement on many of the contours such a law should take. Unfortunately, given the many other priorities in Congress (infrastructure, the debt ceiling, the budget, etc.) and an atmosphere of bi-partisan deadlock and mistrust, it does not appear that a national privacy law will be enacted any time soon.
AAF believes a national privacy law would benefit consumers and businesses and is working with the Privacy for America coalition to urge Congress to move forward.