Balance is Needed in Federal Data Privacy Laws

Balance is Needed in Federal Data Privacy Laws

March 29, 2019 Off By administrator

U.S. Senate legislators and representatives of the business community discussed the need for a federal data privacy law that balances consumer protection and reasonable regulations for companies during a hearing March 26.

“[I’ve] been attempting to identify responsible federal privacy standards that provide clear and effective protection to consumers while also aiming to provide some regulatory certainty to businesses in the interest of creating jobs, promoting innovation and competition in a global economy,” U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade and Consumer Protection, said during the hearing.

“The focus of today’s hearing is to emphasize specific concerns of small and new businesses and how they utilize and protect consumer information within their operations,” Moran said. “These businesses have fewer resources in handling the complexities of increased regulatory privacy compliance and associated costs. However, it is also critical to highlight that not all small businesses are the same and consumer data offers different uses, challenges and in some cases liabilities across the various models of small businesses and startups.”

ACA International submitted a letter to Chairman Moran in advance of the hearing with a focus on the importance of balancing consumer data protection laws with the need for the accounts receivable management industry to collect and store data.

Subcommittee members, including U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., the majority whip, and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., received testimony regarding the impact of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which takes effect in January 2020, and the European Union’s recently adopted General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on businesses.

Witnesses included:

  • Justin Brookman, director, privacy and technology policy for Consumer Reports
  • Nina Dosanjh, vice chair, technology policy committee, National Association of Realtors
  • Jefferson England, chief financial officer, Silver Star Communications
  • Evan Engstrom, executive director, Engine Advocacy and Research Foundation 
  • Ryan Weber, president, KC Tech Council 

“This is a priority for everybody on the committee, and it is something that must be done and must be done on a bipartisan basis,” Blumenthal said. “Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy creating more jobs than any other sector.”

In general, the witnesses shared a consensus that there is a need for a federal data privacy standard that protects consumers and that requiring companies to also comply with variations in state laws where they practice business creates overburdensome regulations that ultimately take away from resources designed to serve consumers.

The CCPA law requires companies to tell consumers―upon request―what personal data they possess, why they have the data and if third parties have access to it, ACA International previously reported. Consumers may ask companies to…

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