We welcome the Senate Commerce Committee’s commitment to addressing data privacy with this week’s hearing on the subject. Privacy for America has long advocated for Congress to pass comprehensive privacy legislation that would clearly define and prohibit practices that put personal data at risk or undermine accountability, while preserving the benefits to individuals and our economy that result from the responsible use of data. Our framework would shift the burden away from individuals to read hundreds of lengthy privacy policies to protect themselves and toward a common set of data privacy and security norms. Importantly, our framework also includes the creation of a data protection bureau at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and increased authority and resources for the agency to help enforce the new law consistently across the nation. The framework would apply to virtually all personal information collected and used in the United States and virtually all companies doing business here. It would also give the FTC expanded authority over nonprofits and common carriers for purposes of the new privacy law.
A recent AP-NORC poll found that 74 percent of Americans support the federal government establishing national standards for how companies can collect and use personal data. While providing increased resources to the FTC is one step that can help provide protections to Americans, we encourage lawmakers to not lose sight of how critically important it is to pass a comprehensive federal data privacy bill that would establish the national standards that Americans want and need and provide clear rules for businesses to follow and for the FTC and state Attorneys General to enforce. We will continue to work with lawmakers of both parties to find areas of consensus so that Congress can pass federal privacy legislation as soon as possible.