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US Chamber of Commerce Calls for National Privacy Legislation

by Chris Brook on Thursday January 13, 2022

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Yet another industry group - the U.S. Chamber of Commerce - has called on Congress to pass comprehensive privacy legislation.

It's been a slow burn but one of these years, possibly in 2022, discussions around passing nationwide data privacy legislation will begin to pick up steam at a federal level.

There have been countless attempts at getting a federal privacy law off the ground over the years but none have been polarizing enough for Congress to pursue them seriously.

The world's largest business organization, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, hopes that changes this year. It added its voice to the growing crowd on Thursday, pushing Congress to pass comprehensive privacy legislation, insisting that consumers and businesses should not be forced to wait longer for legislation that protects their privacy.

In a letter sent to members of the United States Congress, the Chamber called for "bipartisan and durable national data protection legislation,” to combat the patchwork of laws that have been passed on a state-by-state basis over the last few years.

“Data is foundational to America’s economic growth and keeping society safe, healthy and inclusive. Technologies like artificial intelligence are leading to vaccine development and expanding opportunities financially to those who have traditionally been underserved,” the letter reads. “Fundamental to the use of data is trust. A national privacy law that is clear and fair to business and empowering to consumers will foster the digital ecosystem necessary for America to compete.”

The letter is signed by 81 regional Chambers of Commerce and 12 national business organizations, including the Consumer Data Industry Association, Association of National Advertisers, and Security Industry Association.

In its letter, the coalition points out that it’s been 1,285 days since the country’s first data protection law, the California Consumer Privacy Act, was passed.

While the letter makes its point clear – it calls on Congress to consider a single standard, one that could be kept in check by a federal agency and state attorney general enforcement – there’s not too much detail on what shape the legislation should take.

Hope has sprung eternal over the last few years that the United States would follow in the footsteps of countries like the United Kingdom with its General Data Protection Regulation, or even Brazil, Switzerland, or Denmark, which have also passed laws of their own, by adopting a federal-level statute.

While the CCPA was a big first step when it comes to consciousness around data privacy, it only enhanced privacy rights and consumer protection for residents of California.

States like Virginia, with its Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (VCDPA) and Colorado, with its Colorado Privacy Act (CoPA) have made waves too but the laws, along with the CCPA and last year’s California Privacy Rights Act, scheduled to go into effect in 2023, haven’t had the waterfall effect on states on data privacy that some experts expected.

While most politicians agree that a data protection law is necessary and organizations should be held accountable for protecting customers' data, there are differing views on whether a federal law should supersede laws already on the books in states like California and Virginia and whether individuals should have any recourse if an organization mishandles their data.

Tags: Data Privacy

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Chris Brook

Chris Brook is the editor of Data Insider. He is a technology journalist with a decade of experience writing about information security, hackers, and privacy. Chris has attended many infosec conferences and has interviewed hackers and security researchers. Prior to joining Digital Guardian he helped launch Threatpost, an independent news site which is a leading source of information about IT and business security for hundreds of thousands of professionals worldwide.