Federal Data Privacy Bill

Federal Data Privacy Bill is Advanced by House Panel: Data Privacy Trends

Almost breaking news as this happened yesterday, but the Federal data privacy bill has been advanced by a House panel, which puts us one step closer to legislation for how tech companies use our data.

The Hill (House panel advances landmark federal data privacy bill, written by Rebecca Klar) reported that the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted 53-2 to push forward the American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA) (H.R. 8152) to set a national standard for how tech companies collect and use Americans’ data.

That’s the good news. However, several lawmakers from California voiced concerns about how the federal bill could undermine protections from the state’s data privacy law, with both “no” votes coming from California committee members – Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-Calif.)

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Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) said she would vote to push it forward to continue discussion but would not vote in favor of passing the bill without additional changes.

Eshoo put forward an amendment that would set the federal standard as a floor, allowing states to go beyond the federal regulations. The amendment gained support from her Democratic California colleagues, but it failed to pass at yesterday’s markup.

Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), among the members who voted against the amendment, said the update to set a floor would undermine the compromises made and in turn make the entire bill unable to move forward with bipartisan support.

“But basically what this amendment would do would reject all of the efforts to come to a compromise by replacing carefully crafted preemption provisions, mindful of some of the states, with a provision that would not set a true federal standard,” Pallone said.

Just last month, I reported on progress toward a compromise on the Federal data privacy bill, now it has become the first Federal data privacy bill to make it out of committee!

Still a long way to go, but that’s real progress.

So, what do you think? Will this proposed Federal data privacy bill become law? And is that a good thing? Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

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2 comments

  1. This was not so much an “advance” as it was a political move. Both sides realised they needed to get this out to a full floor debate to get their heavy guns into the process and amend the crap out of this thing. Congress does this all the time. Mainstream media sees “progress” but often it is just the opposite.

    The big thing is all industry groups worry that the bill’s inclusion of a private right of action with the potential to recover attorneys’ fees will lead to litigation abuse. As well as that poorly worded, cockamamie provision on the use of data derived from publicly-available sources and the “duty of loyalty” to individuals whose covered data is processed. Just what in hell does THAT mean?!

    Last night Politico did a review of all the public comments + all of the committee witness testimony. Two take-aways: (1) there is general support for federal privacy legislation; and (2) but loads of opposition to scores of discrete aspects of the bill, the later meaning it is carve out time. Which is exactly how they neutered the GDPR. Same law firms, same lobby groups back in the swing of things.

    As has been the case for the better part of the last 10-15 years in which Congress has sought to draft a federal privacy bill, the same 2 fundamental issues continue to drive the debate and must be resolved in order for the legislation to become law: (1) what to do about a private right of action to enforce the law and (2) what to do about the preemption of state laws or portions of them.

    I suspect, after the Republicans win back the House and Senate this fall, we’ll see that (1) a private right of action will not be permitted or at least it will be significantly inhibited, and that (2) federal privacy legislation will not preempt state law. You know, states’ rights and all that stuff. Besides, you do not want at uniform national law. You want fragmentation. It’s the American way 😉

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