Coincidentally, a pair of Senators kicked off a push for data privacy legislation on the same day that a General Accountability Office report recommended that Congress enact Internet privacy legislation to further protect consumers.
The dual announcements add to a number of efforts at the state and federal level to regulate consumers’ access to their own information and provide further evidence that compliance experts who predicted 2019 would be the year of privacy knew exactly what they were talking about.
Sen. Mike Crapo [R-Idaho] and Sen. Sherrod Brown [D-Ohio], the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, yesterday announced they are seeking feedback on a number of privacy-related questions and that the “collection and use of personally identifiable information will be a major focus of the Banking Committee moving forward.”
“Given the exponential growth and use of data, and corresponding data breaches, it is worth examining how the Fair Credit Reporting Act should work in a digital economy, and whether certain data brokers and other firms serve a function similar to the original consumer reporting agencies,” said Sen. Crapo, in a statement. “I am particularly interested in what data is contained in modern consumer reports, how the information is gathered, who compiles it, how it is protected, how consumers can access it and correct it, and how privacy is respected.”
Among the questions that the Senators posed are:
- What could be done to give consumers more control over their consumer financial data?
- What could be done to ensure regulators and private companies (including third-parties) provide adequate disclosure to consumers about the information that is being collected about them and for what purposes?
- What could be done to give consumers control over how financial regulators and private companies (including third-parties) use consumer data?
- What could be done by credit bureaus to protect consumer data and to make sure that information contained in a credit file is accurate?
Interested parties are asked to email [email protected] with their answers.
Separately, the GAO released a report that said now is the time for Congress to step forward and enact a law because there is “no comprehensive federal privacy statute with specific standards.” Noting that the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission have used “different approaches” to regulating and overseeing Internet privacy, a codified federal statute “could help enhance the federal government’s ability to protect consumer privacy, provide more certainty in the marketplace as companies innovate and develop new products using consumer data, and provide better assurance to consumers that their privacy will be protected.”