Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be over, but the holiday shopping season remains in full swing with many Americans looking for last-minute holiday deals and gifts for their loved ones. According to Deloitte’s 2019 retail holiday survey, holiday shopping sales are expected to reach $1.1 trillion this year. Of this, $144 to $149 billion is expected from digital sales, with 59 percent of consumers planning to do some form of online shopping.
With more and more consumers taking advantage of the benefits of shopping online every year, it’s more important than ever to protect their information and ensure a safe and secure shopping experience. That’s exactly what Privacy for America’s framework for comprehensive privacy legislation would do.
We believe that any federal privacy law should be designed to enhance accountability and transparency with respect to an individual’s data. This includes data security, which is especially important for online shoppers who transmit financial and other personal data to a company during a transaction. Our framework would require companies to safeguard against data breaches by implementing a risk-based data security program that includes risk assessment, employee training, and incident response. It would also give the FTC enhanced authority to crack down on companies that don’t play by the rules, ensuring widespread compliance and rigorous enforcement.
It’s also important to remember that there are legitimate and responsible ways for companies to use data that help personalize and improve the online shopping experience for consumers – the customization of which many consumers have come to expect. Our proposal gives consumers a choice about the use of data for this purpose, and ensures that if an individual opts out, a company must cease engaging in data personalization, and must stop using or sharing with third parties any inferences or predictions already created. But importantly, our framework also explicitly prohibits harmful uses of data to ensure that the burden of proper data use is shifted away from consumers as much as possible.
Online shopping has become an easy and convenient experience for consumers around the holidays. Protecting consumers from hackers, scammers and other cyber threats can help them rest easy as they tick through their holiday gift lists each year. It’s a reminder of why passing comprehensive data privacy and security legislation is so important and personal, and we’re glad lawmakers are making it a priority this season.