Federal Privacy Legislation

Federal Privacy Legislation May Be One Step Closer: Data Privacy Trends

According to a report from DLA Piper, potential federal privacy legislation may be one step closer after a bipartisan group of lawmakers has reportedly agreed on a compromise draft of the bill.

The report (Congressional leaders reach bipartisan compromise on potential federal privacy legislation) reported that the compromise draft – put forth by House Energy and Commerce Chair Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ), ranking member Representative Cathy McMorris Rodger (R-WA), and Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee – marks the furthest lawmakers have ever come in efforts to reach a deal on federal privacy legislation.

With the two previous key points of contention – federal preemption and the private right of action (PRA) – now apparently resolved, and both parties in general agreement on the protections that privacy legislation should include, the most crucial variable may well be timing. It remains unclear whether Congress will be able finalize the (as yet undisclosed) draft bill before the congressional recess in August and midterm elections this November.

Details around what exactly was agreed to with preemption and the PRA aren’t clear at this point. Sources familiar with negotiations on the bipartisan draft told Politico that preemption would have some exceptions but cover most state laws while the PRA would be limited in some fashion. Every privacy bill currently under consideration with the 117th Congress carries one or the other but not both.

However, the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) reported that the proposal for federal privacy legislation hasn’t yet garnered the support of Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., arguably the most important legislator working on federal privacy legislation. The hang-up for Cantwell appears to be the PRA, as her proposal seeks to empower consumers more than what Wicker, Pallone and McMorris Rodgers have compromised on.

In other words, this may be significant – or (to quote Shakespeare) it may be much ado about nothing and Congress may say: “Let me be that I am and seek not to alter me” – at least for another session.

So, what do you think? Would you like to see the US pass federal privacy legislation? Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

P.S.: Happy Birthday Carter!

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