Tag Archive for: Privacy

Latest Update on Pending Privacy Legislation, June 8th

Proposed Data Privacy Bill Stands a Shot at Becoming First Comprehensive Federal Privacy Law

A discussion draft of a comprehensive data privacy bill was released last Friday by a bipartisan group of legislators in the House and Senate. Consumer rights advocates say the proposed compromise legislation is the biggest step to date toward granting individuals meaningful privacy protections.

The draft bill, currently known as the American Data Privacy and Protection Act (the “Data Privacy Act”), would allow users to opt out of target advertisements and to sue Internet companies that improperly sell their data. It is sponsored by US Reps Frank Pallone, Jr (D-NJ) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), who are Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and US Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. However, insiders say the legislation faces an uphill battle without the support of Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), who is chair of the Senate Commerce Committee. Cantwell is believed to support more liberal priorities for online user rights.


“This bipartisan and bicameral effort to produce a comprehensive data privacy framework has been years in the making, and the release of this discussion draft represents a critical milestone,” Pallone, Rodgers, and Wicker said. “In the coming weeks, we will be working with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to build support and finalize this standard to give Americans more control over their personal data. We welcome and encourage all of our colleagues to join us in this effort to enable meaningful privacy protections for Americans and provide businesses with operational certainty. This landmark agreement represents the sum of years of good faith efforts by us, other Members, and numerous stakeholders as we work together to provide American consumers with comprehensive data privacy protections.”

As summarized by a House Energy and Commerce Committee press release, the Data Privacy Act would:

  • Establish a strong national framework to protect consumer data privacy and security;
  • Grant broad protections for Americans against the discriminatory use of their data;
  • Require covered entities to minimize on the front end, individuals’ data they need to collect, process, and transfer so that the use of consumer data is limited to what is reasonably necessary, proportionate, and limited for specific products and services;
  • Require covered entities to comply with loyalty duties with respect to specific practices while ensuring consumers don’t have to pay for privacy;
  • Require covered entities to allow consumers to turn off targeted advertisements;
  • Provide enhanced data protections for children and minors, including what they might agree to with or without parental approval;
  • Establish regulatory parity across the internet ecosystem; and
  • Promote innovation and preserve the opportunity for start-ups and small businesses to grow and compete.

The legislation would give individual users new rights to access, correct and delete their digital data, and companies would be responsible for informing third parties to make changes to the data of users that have submitted a verified request. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) would be required to maintain a public registry of data brokers and create a mechanism of users to opt out of targeted advertisements and other data sharing practices. Individuals would be permitted to sue companies, but only after a four-year waiting period after the legislation is enacted. They would also need to notify state and federal officials before proceeding, and they could not pursue their legal action of a government prosecutor takes up their case.

Proposed exceptions in the current draft (at Section 209) would generally allow collection, processing or transfer of covered data for narrowly-tailored purposes such as completing transactions, when data is collected to perform system maintenance, diagnostics or when addressing security incidents, among other things. The draft bill also provides exemptions for small entities that earned gross annual revenues of $41 million or less for the prior three years, that did not collect or process the covered data of 100,000 individuals in a year (except for processing payments and promptly deleting covered data for requested products/services) and that did not derive more than half their revenue from transferring covered data. These smaller entities may choose to delete, rather than correct, and individual’s covered data.

The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT), a nonprofit research group that receives funding from tech companies such as Apple and Google, issued the following statement upon the release of the proposal:

“This draft shows that there is a bipartisan path forward on long-overdue legislation to protect consumers’ privacy. Americans want and desperately need legislation to protect their personal data and promote trust in the online world. While it’s not perfect, the draft is a hopeful first step. We urge Congress to move forward with the legislative process and pass legislation by the end of this year.”


Proposed Privacy Legislation May Impact Monitoring Companies

The United States House of Representatives has just introduced a privacy bill that has been endorsed by the Chairman and Ranking Republican of the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Ranking Republican of the Senate Commerce Committee.

The bill establishes rules for when and how data can be shared. We would also point out that the bill does require explicit consent from your customers to share information and must report to them when you do. On P. 17 there is a discussion of Geolocation services which might impact TMA members.

We think the alarm monitoring industry would be exempt based upon the exemptions on P. 39 items (1), (3), & (6), but we are providing a definition of alarm monitoring and writing clarifying language specific to alarm monitoring in item (3).


House leaders swipe at Chamber over privacy bill letter

With a key House panel set to hold a hearing on a bipartisan, bicameral consumer data privacy proposal next week, Republicans were upset to see the U.S. Chamber of Commerce already bashing the bill.

The group was circulating a draft letter saying the American Data Privacy and Protection Act “is unworkable and should be rejected,” CNBC reported on Thursday.

The influential business group complains the proposal doesn’t go far enough in preempting state laws while also creating a “private right of action” that would allow individuals to sue companies if they believe their data is being misused.

“A national privacy law should be a true national standard but the bill’s preemption language carves out fifteen different state laws including those in California and Illinois,” the group wrote. “This legislation would create a new national patchwork of privacy laws.”

The draft proposal would give consumers more control over their personal data, including limiting information that can be collected on the front end, supporters say.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), top Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee, was especially unhappy over the Chamber letter.

“It is disappointing to see the Chamber – who has urgently called for a national privacy framework for years – suddenly change their tune like this,” Sean Kelly,CMR’s spokesperson, said in a statement.

“They are not being constructive by asking Congress to abandon ongoing bipartisan, bicameral efforts on a federal privacy standard,” said This draft bill is going through the regular order process, and includes policies that have been public and received comment in one form or another for several years. We are continuing to welcome and encourage stakeholder feedback, especially from those who still believe a federal data privacy standard is urgently needed.”

This is just the last flare-up between the Chamber and Republicans on the Hill. The big business lobby, once an ally to Republicans, has faced increased skepticism from GOP lawmakers, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

House Energy and Commerce’s Consumer Protection and Commerce subcommittee has a hearing set for Tuesday on this issue, so we’ll definitely hear a lot more on this proposal.