Bipartisan Privacy Bill Unveiled by Leaders in House, Senate

A draft of a bipartisan, bicameral privacy bill has been released that would preempt some of the provisions of state privacy laws that have been enacted while establishing a national framework for how companies must treat the privacy of their customers.

A copy of the bill, called the American Data Privacy and Protection Act, is available by clicking here. It was released by Rep. Frank Pallone [D-N.J.] and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers [R-Wash.], the chair and ranking member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Sen. Roger Wicker [R-Miss.], the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. The group attempted to include Sen. Maria Cantwell [D-Wash.], the chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, but published reports indicate she is going to circulate her own bill with different provisions related to preempting state laws.

“This bill strikes a meaningful balance on issues that are critical to moving comprehensive data privacy legislation through Congress, including the development of a uniform, national data privacy framework, the creation of a robust set of consumers’ data privacy rights, and appropriate enforcement mechanisms,” Rep. Pallone, Rep. Rodgers, and Sen. Wicker said in a statement.

Rep. Pallone, many may remember, was one of the architects of the TRACED Act, regarding the regulation and enforcement of anti-robocall measures being put in place by the Federal Communications Commission.

Similar to many of the state laws that have been enacted, the federal measure would require companies to allow consumers to opt out of receiving targeted advertisements while also limiting the data that needed to be collected so that it is “proportionate” and limited to specific products and services. The bill would also task the Federal Trade Commission with creating a public registry of data brokers and allow consumers to opt out of having their data collected and stored.

The bill is considered to be the most ambitious privacy bill that Congress has released in years, but published reports indicate it has a “steep uphill climb” unless those behind it can get Sen. Cantwell on board.

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