Wednesday, March 17, 2021
Thirty-four other Democrats in the House signed on as co-sponsors of the bill. No similar legislation has yet to be introduced in the Senate.
The Information Transparency and Personal Data Control Act, introduced in the House on March 10, 2021, aims to establish protections for all types of personal information businesses collect on consumers, including financial, health, genetic, biometric, geolocation, sexual orientation, citizen and immigration status, Social Security Numbers, and religious beliefs. It also establishes protections for children under the age of 13.
"Data privacy is a 21st century issue of civil rights, civil liberties and human rights, and the U.S. has no policy to protect our most sensitive personal information from abuse," Rep. Delbene said in a statement. "With states understandably advancing their own legislation in the absence of federal policy, Congress needs to prioritize creating a strong national standard to protect all Americans."
Absent federal oversight of data privacy, several states have enacted their own comprehensive data privacy laws in recent years, several of which mirror closely the General Data Protection Regulation established by the European Union in 2018.
The California Consumer Privacy Act, which took effect in 2020, imposes a comprehensive set of data privacy protections that companies doing business with or targeting California residents must adhere to. Violators face stiff civil penalties and potential damage awards to consumers whose personal records are breached and misused. A similar bill was signed into law this year in Virginia, and others are on the legislative dockets in several states.
Here are some key provisions of the Information Transparency and Personal Data Control Act:
The proposed legislation already has gained support from several business and technology groups. "The principles embodied by this legislation are critical to ensuring enactment of a balanced federal privacy law that benefits consumers and businesses alike," said David French, senior vice president at the National Retail Federation.
"This bill shows that it is possible to draft a data protection law that protects consumers without imposing unnecessary costs on businesses," said David Castro, vice president at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. "We encourage Congress to use this as a roadmap for how it should move forward in the digital economy to provide certainty to consumers and businesses alike."
Tom Quaadman, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Technology Engagement Center, offered a similar assessment. He characterized the legislation as "an important first step in bringing consumers, the private sector and policymakers together to protect sensitive information from bad actors."
But Ross Federgreen, president of CSR Privacy Solutions, said he wasn't impressed by the legislation. "It doesn't go far enough," he said. Many of the state laws this bill would supersede offer stronger consumer data privacy protections, and lawmakers from those states aren't likely to vote for a federal statute that overrides those laws, he suggested. And he noted that no Republicans have signed on as co-sponsors of the bill.
Federgreen said the proposed legislation also contains "carve outs" that would exempt large companies from many of the more onerous provisions. "I think the bill is dead in the water," Federgreen said of the legislation.
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