This Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Next month will also usher in the one year anniversary of when the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) was signed into law.
In seeking to improve the privacy rights and consumer protections of their residents, GDPR and CCPA have helped spur a healthy and much-needed debate about data privacy and security. It’s an important conversation, and Privacy for America is building on those efforts by advocating for a new federal law to provide, for the very first time, broad-based privacy rules for the entire United States.
We strongly believe all Americans – no matter where they live in the country– deserve strong privacy protections. It’s a common thread we’ve been hearing in meetings with stakeholders and seeing in recent congressional hearings. And we’re encouraged by the growing consensus amongst lawmakers, legal and privacy experts, and the public who agree that it’s time to pass federal legislation that protects consumers’ data privacy and security.
As part of our efforts to push for a nationwide data privacy law, we’ve been urging Congress to create a specialized, Data Protection Bureau within the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and to give the agency targeted rulemaking authority. Doing so will enhance the FTC’s longstanding expertise in promoting consumer protection and overseeing privacy issues. We also think it’s important to equip the FTC with the additional staff and resources it needs to exercise strengthened privacy oversight and enforcement.
Earlier this month during a hearing before a House Subcommittee, all five Federal Trade Commission Commissioners affirmed the need to create a national privacy law and support the FTC’s ability to hold bad actors accountable for violating privacy rules.
FTC chairman Joseph Simons said, “We urge Congress to enact privacy and data security legislation, enforceable by the FTC.” Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-New Jersey) also called on Congress to give the FTC “the tools it needs to be more effective” and “the resources it needs to become a global leader on privacy and data security.”
We’re committed to working with Congress on nationwide federal legislation that will modernize consumer data privacy protections for all Americans. As lawmakers consider what shape this new law could take, they shouldn’t lose sight of the critical tools and resources the FTC will need to keep pace with our evolving technology landscape.