US Congress Privacy Legislation
U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and fellow senior members Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Ed Markey (D-MA) unveiled comprehensive federal online privacy legislation to establish privacy rights, outlaw harmful and deceptive practices, and improve data security safeguards for the record number of American consumers who now shop or conduct business online. The Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act (COPRA) gives Americans control over their personal data; prohibits companies from using consumers’ data to harm or deceive them; establishes strict standards for the collection, use, sharing, and protection of consumer data; protects civil rights; and penalizes companies that fail to meet data protection standards. The legislation also codifies the rights of individuals to pursue claims against entities that violate their data privacy rights and includes new safeguards to protect children and young people’s online privacy.
Among other things the legislation:
- Requires companies to regularly assess security vulnerabilities and take preventive and corrective actions to protect consumer data.
- Creates heightened privacy standards for collecting and sharing sensitive data such as biometric data and geolocation data.
- Creates new enforcement powers for the Federal Trade Commission to take action against unlawful discrimination in the digital economy.
- Creates data minimization standards and new data quality control mechanisms.
- Gives states the authority to fully enforce the federal law.
- Creates accountability requirements so that senior executives take responsibility for decisions that impact privacy, and risk penalties when they fall short.
- Protects whistleblowers from being punished for bringing privacy violations to light
“In the growing online world, consumers deserve two things: privacy rights and a strong law to enforce them,” Ranking Member Cantwell said. “They should be like your Miranda rights—clear as a bell as to what they are and what constitutes a violation.”
“When consumers let companies use their personal information they should be able to trust that it will be protected and won’t be used to harm them,” said Senator Schatz. “Our bill lays out a set of strong data privacy rights for consumers, establishes robust obligations for companies, and gives prosecutors and consumers the tools they need to hold big tech companies accountable.”
“Companies continue to profit off of the personal data they collect from Americans, but they leave consumers completely in the dark about how their personal information is being used. Consumers have a right to know if their personal data is being sold and to easily see what data has already been distributed,” said Senator Klobuchar. “Our legislation establishes digital rules of the road for companies, ensures that consumers have the right to access and control how their personal data is being used, and gives the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general the tools they need to hold big tech companies accountable. It’s time for Congress to pass comprehensive privacy legislation.”
“The demand for consumers’ personal information today is at an all-time high,” Senator Markey said. “But while the appetite for our data has skyrocketed in recent years, Americans have not yet been given a set of strong, enforceable rights that protect us from privacy invasions. This bill gives consumers strong privacy protections, including prohibitions on harmful discriminatory uses of our data and strict data security requirements. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Senate Commerce Committee to enact a comprehensive federal privacy bill, which must include heightened protections for vulnerable populations, like children and teens.”
The Regulatory Mix Today: US Congress Privacy Legislation, US Senate Hearing on Data Privacy
US Senate Hearing on Data Privacy
U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, announced he will convene a hearing titled, “Examining Legislative Proposals to Protect Consumer Data Privacy,” at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, December 4, 2019. Members of the committee and witnesses will discuss how legislative proposals intend to provide consumers with more security, transparency, choice, and control over personal information both online and offline. Members will also discuss proposals that provide the Federal Trade Commission with more resources and authority to oversee business data practices in the marketplace.
The scheduled witnesses are:
- The Honorable Julie Brill, Former Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission, Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft
- The Honorable Maureen Ohlhausen, Former Acting-Chair of the Federal Trade Commission, Co-Chair, 21st Century Privacy Coalition
- Ms. Laura Moy, Executive Director and Associate Professor of Law, Georgetown Law Center on Privacy & Technology
- Ms. Nuala O’Connor, Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Digital Citizenship at Walmart
- Ms. Michelle Richardson, Director of Privacy and Data, Center for Democracy and Technology
The Regulatory Mix, Inteserra’s blog of telecom related regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of an Inteserra Briefing.