1. Recent Congressional Hearings on Data Privacy
What it is: On Tuesday the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs met for a hearing on privacy rights and data collection. On Wednesday the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce met to discuss the role the FTC plays in strengthening protections for Americans’ privacy and data security. Last week, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation held a hearing on Consumer Perspectives: Policy Principles for a Federal Data Privacy Framework.
Why it matters: After the EU’s GDPR legislation passed last year several states passed their own legislation in the absence of any U.S. federal regulation. Fast forward to the past few months and federal lawmakers have steadily held privacy related hearings, and multiple members of Congress have proposed privacy legislation. The FTC called on Congress to create a national privacy law and to strengthen their ability to police violations.
And/But: There are areas that legislators agree on and other areas drawing debate. One major outstanding issue is if new federal regulations will preempt state legislation that has already been passed. In a May 8 hearing, the five U.S. Federal Trade Commission members were divided on how severely to punish Facebook for the Cambridge Analytica breach, which will set a precedent for how to handle other breaches and privacy violations.