The American economy in the 21st century is increasingly driven by the collection and processing of consumer data. While this has resulted in innovative products, services, and technologies, it has also led to numerous high-profile misuses of data. As a result, consumers have demanded that Congress step in to help protect the privacy of their data.
On November 27, 2019, Chairman Wicker released a staff draft of the United States Consumer Data Privacy Act (USCDPA). The draft is informed by over a year of bipartisan negotiations and feedback from consumer advocates, state and local governments, and a number of stakeholders representing many sectors of the economy.
- Establish a national standard for the protection of consumer data privacy, bringing the United States in line with the European Union and other nations with unified standards and giving consumers strong protections regardless of where in America they live, work, or engage in commerce, both online and offline.
- Give consumers control over their data with the ability to know what companies have collected about them and request that it be corrected, deleted, or made portable, and the right to consent to or opt out of data practices in a clear and consistent way.
- Protect the data of minors under the age of 16 by requiring the individual or the individual’s parent or guardian to provide affirmative express consent (i.e. opt-in consent) before the minor’s data can be transferred to a third-party.
- Require transparency and accountability on the part of companies who collect and process consumer data, including standards for privacy policies, internal privacy controls, the designation of privacy and data security officers, and a new data broker registry.
- Combat negative uses of data by setting standards for data security and supporting efforts to mitigate algorithm bias and digital content forgeries, such as “deep fakes.”
- Provide the Federal Trade Commission with new resources and capabilities to enforce privacy protections, including through targeted rulemaking authority on key issues and by expanding the Commission’s authority to cover non-profits and common carriers.
- Allow states to protect their citizens by granting state attorneys general the authority to enforce the provisions of the federal law.
- Preserve existing federal privacy laws that have been effective in protecting certain types of consumer data, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) (Pub. L. 104-191).
American consumers deserve a strong national standard for the protection of their data, and American companies need certainty in order to continue innovating and competing with the rest of the world. USCDPA is a strong, comprehensive approach to achieving that goal.