The long-awaited US privacy law appears to be back on track

A new national privacy law, a key piece of legislation that has proven elusive for years, suddenly seems to be on the fast track in Congress despite years of deadlock on tech regulation.

Congress failed to pass a federal privacy law after years of states like California and European and Asian regulators pushing to pass laws setting basic parameters to protect citizens online. That California Consumer Privacy Act and Europe General Data Protection Regulation have helped create a rudimentary structure in which consumers have the right to know the personal data a company is collecting about them and the right to have that data deleted or to opt out.

The bipartisan American Privacy Act – Written by House Energy and Trade Speaker Frank Pallone, DN.J., Senior Member of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., and Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Senior Member of the Commerce Committee of the Senate – addresses two sticking points that have deterred the US from passing such legislation: Democrats have insisted on broad private right of action for individuals, while Republicans have wanted to pre-empt all state laws.

The draft national data protection law includes an agreement that would preempt most state laws with some exceptions, as well as a limited private right of action that allows individuals to seek legal damages for data breaches. The compromise could save companies a lot of money if passed Report this year from the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation It has been estimated that a patchwork of state privacy laws could cost as much as $1 trillion more than a single federal law.

“This bipartisan and bicameral effort to create a comprehensive privacy framework has taken years, and the release of this discussion draft marks a critical milestone,” Wicker, Pallone and Rodgers said in a statement.

California’s landmark privacy law: what it does, what’s changed, and what it means for investors

The bill, which focuses on consumer protection to make data safer and businesses more transparent, is intended to stand on its own and not be attached to antitrust laws. A Listen on the bill is scheduled for June 14, with witnesses announced.

“We have advocated for years that strengthening the privacy of children and families is the first step in making the internet a healthier and safer place for young people and all consumers,” said Jim Steyer, executive director of the nonprofit Common sense a statement. “We are disappointed that this issue, which the vast majority of Americans believe should be addressed, has eluded agreement for too long. This is the year when there should be a national data protection treaty once and for all.”

The Missteps of Facebook Parent Meta Platforms Inc. FB
with data breaches and an epidemic of ransomware attacks has solidified popular support for some form of national privacy legislation. Almost all Americans (92%) believe it is critical for Congress to pass new legislation to protect consumers’ personal information, and a clear majority (62%) support a to learn from Privacy for America late last year.

“Consumer temperature and sentiment has shifted in recent years regarding the importance of personal data and the power of social media,” Balaji Ganesan, CEO of data security company Privacera, told MarketWatch.

The initial response to the bipartisan bill from the House and Senate has received broad support from technology organizations such as TechNet and the Software & Information Industry Association, FTC Commissioners Christine Wilson and Noah Phillips, and technology industry executives.

Read: California’s landmark privacy law is Facebook’s next ‘nightmare’

The bill “represents bipartisan negotiations for a national privacy law. It also reflects the work of privacy, civil rights and consumer advocates over the past decade,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation said in a statement. “Should this bill go ahead, we call on Congress to make this law stronger — not weaker — to ensure it doesn’t freeze progress on improving privacy rights, changing business practices through tough enforcement, and upending Americans’ privacy rights.” around the world have not affected country at present.”

While tech giants and the associations they belong to have fought tooth and nail against antitrust efforts and other efforts to regulate their business models, a few have adopted more conciliatory stances on privacy rules. Apple Inc. AAPL,
Chief Executive Tim Cook, a staunch supporter of consumer privacy laws, as demonstrated in a recent national example TV campaignHe quickly threw his company’s support behind the new bill.

Apple’s privacy ad – a not-too-subtle swipe at GOOGL by Meta and Alphabet Inc.,
Google – is a “brilliant campaign that plays well against the Google Pixel, which fails to give consumers the same level of privacy,” Nicole Penn, president of the EGC Group, told MarketWatch.

In-Depth: Facebook and Apple are at war, with the biggest battle yet to come

Meta, whose chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly advocated some form of national privacy law over the years, declined to comment. Google and Amazon did not respond to email messages about privacy legislation.

Nearly unanimous support for national privacy legislation provides a political bookend for a bipartisan bill from Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., which is facing fierce opposition from big tech and divided support on Capitol Hill. That’s because Klobuchar is American Innovation and Choice Online Act Attempts to curb digital monopoly, a hot topic in Silicon Valley that has been the subject of furious lobbying by Google, Inc. AMZN,
and tech trade groups to rescind it ahead of a scheduled vote this month.

On Wednesday, however, Klobuchar and lawmakers from both parties said they had the Senate votes needed to pass the bill. “We wouldn’t ask for a vote if we didn’t think we could get 60 votes,” Klobuchar said at a news conference.

Read more: After three years of promises, the attempt to regulate the technology boils down to a single bill

If there is common ground between the two parties, it will most likely focus on a national privacy law, says Michael Petricone, senior vice president of CTA, a nonprofit organization whose 1,500 members range from small companies to giants like Apple, Amazon and Google rich and facebook.

“The revised legislation still does not address significant concerns about our national security and global competitiveness,” Moore said. “Before we rush this into the Senate, we need a bipartisan hearing to examine the far-reaching implications of such a sweeping measure. There was no hearing with the FBI, NSA, or CIA to investigate potential security risks, despite continued warnings from security experts.”

As the days dwindle for a vote before Congress enters its summer recess in August, those in Silicon Valley and Capitol Hill are wondering why the tech legislation has failed to get a full vote, despite widespread aisle and electoral support.

See Also: Time is running out for Congress to pass tech legislation

The urgency and demand for technical regulation over the past year and in 2020 — as congressional hearings exacerbated data breaches, interference in online elections and content moderation — is amid the focus on gun control, abortion rights, the war in Ukraine, inflation and… Rumors of an impending recession faded. Should Republicans regain control of Congress as expected in the November midterm elections, consumer advocates and lawmakers expect an abrupt shift of regulatory interest to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and moderation of social media content. The long-awaited US privacy law appears to be back on track

Brian Lowry

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