Companies from every sector are descending on CES 2020 this week to discuss new and emerging trends in consumer technology. Amidst the buzz around new gadgets, 5G, artificial intelligence and other trends, consumer privacy also remained top of mind for participants.
In a fireside chat moderated by CTA President and CEO Gary Shapiro, FTC Chairman Joe Simons told attendees that the time has come for Congress to consider passing a federal privacy statute, but he thinks it would be a “huge mistake” to build a new privacy regulatory agency. And he urged Congress to take into account how privacy legislation may help tech giants who have more resources to devote to compliance.
The topic of consumer privacy continued in another roundtable discussion with the privacy heads of Apple, Facebook, Procter & Gamble and FTC Commissioner Rebecca Slaughter. The panelists examined the question of privacy and what consumers want and need from privacy protections. Of note, during the discussion, Commissioner Slaughter emphasized the importance of not placing all of the burden on the consumer. She argued for shifting more of the burden to data collectors to ensure that they are using the data they collect properly and not to the detriment of consumers.
The points raised by FTC Chairman Joe Simons and FTC Commissioner Rebecca Slaughter resonate deeply with Privacy for America. We believe that the consumer should not bear the burden of protecting themselves online with lengthy privacy policies that are difficult to understand. Our policy framework would shift that burden from consumers towards a common set of data privacy and security norms designed to enhance accountability, transparency, and consumer control with respect to companies’ use of consumer data. What’s more is that our framework would provide a single set of rules to protect consumers while fostering continued growth and innovation among data driven businesses.
More specifically, our framework would require companies to develop and maintain a plan to ensure compliance with privacy requirements of the law. This includes requiring the company to evaluate the risks created by its data collection and retention practices. The framework would also require companies to conduct due diligence with vendors and third parties with whom they disclose personal data and enter into contracts with these parties to ensure that data will be used lawfully and consistent with the promises made when collected. And to ensure accountability and oversight, our framework would provide more resources to the FTC to allow them to effectively enforce these rules.
All consumers should be able to use the internet and take advantage of online deals, offers, products and services without having to worry that their data will be misused. That’s why we urge the passage of a federal law that would provide this peace of mind with a nationwide set of privacy rules that would protect all Americans.