It has been just over one month since we’ve launched the Privacy for America coalition. Together, we’ve been calling on Americans and all sectors of the U.S. economy to join us in supporting a federal data privacy law that protects consumers no matter where they live, while, at the same time, fostering the innovation which has created a thriving Internet-based economy.
Representatives of our coalition have conducted briefings, held meetings, and shared information with elected officials and regulators. We have participated in panel discussions before hundreds of thought leaders at a hearing on consumer privacy held by the Federal Trade Commission and at the International Association of Privacy Professionals’ Global Privacy Summit. Our trade association members have spread the word through blog posts, member communications, and presentations at industry conferences. Finally, we hosted a briefing for interested companies and trade associations that was attended by dozens of organizations. Together, these efforts have created momentum and generated valuable feedback as we work to drive the consensus necessary to enact a new paradigm for federal consumer data privacy legislation in Congress.
In today’s digital world, consumers are able to enjoy greater and faster access to information, products, services and the convenience of a personalized experience – all at their fingertips.
Yet, the current patchwork of state and federal laws and industry self-regulation has left gaps in consumer protection and not kept pace with our increasingly complex and evolving technology landscape. We also learned from our research with more than that 92 percent of the registered voters who we surveyed agreed that it’s important for Congress to pass new legislation that protects consumer data for all Americans.
Now, more than ever, we need a new paradigm so that our nation’s consumers can trust that their data will be secure and not used in ways that cause them harm. To that end, here are four guiding principles that lawmakers should prioritize as they work together on a federal data privacy law:
- Prohibiting a variety of specific data practices, including using personal characteristics like race or color to discriminate against a person in setting prices or determining eligibility for products or services;
- Creating a new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Data Protection Bureau, to increase substantially privacy oversight and enforcement including authorizing strict penalties for companies that engage in prohibited privacy practices;
- Requiring strong data security protections to prevent against data breaches;
- Imposing significant restrictions on data use for advertising, including allowing consumers to identify their preferences regarding what advertising they do or do not wish to receive.
All Americans deserve strong privacy protections to prevent companies from using their data in ways that are unexpected or harmful. We are committed to working with Congress to support enactment of groundbreaking comprehensive federal consumer data privacy and security legislation.