WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today convened the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation for a hearing titled, “Policy Principles for a Federal Data Privacy Framework in the United States.” The hearing focused on what Congress should do to address risks to consumers and implement data privacy protections for all Americans.
Excerpt from Chairman Wicker’s opening statement, as delivered, below:
We live during an exciting time of rapid innovation and technological change. Internet-connected devices and services are virtually everywhere – in our homes, cars, grocery stores, and right here in our pockets.
The increase in Internet-connected devices and services means that more consumer data than ever before is flowing through the economy.
The economic and societal benefits generated by consumer data are undeniable. From this data, meaningful insights are gleaned about the needs, preferences, and demands of consumers and businesses alike. These insights spur innovation, help target investment, and create opportunities.
The material benefits of data include increased productivity and efficiency, reduced costs, greater efficiency, greater convenience, and access to customized goods and services that enhance our safety, security, and overall quality of life.
While the benefits of consumer data are immense, so too are the risks.
Consumer data in the digital economy has become a target for cyber-criminals and actors that exploit data for nefarious purposes.
This problem is exacerbated by the failure of some companies to protect consumer data from misuse and unwanted collection and processing.
These issues threaten to undermine consumers’ trust in the Internet marketplace, diminishing consumer engagement in the online ecosystem.
Consumer trust in the Internet marketplace is essential. It is a driving force behind the ingenuity and success of American technological advancement and prosperity.
Congress needs to develop a uniquely American data privacy framework that provides consumers with more transparency, choice, and control over their data. This must be done in a manner that provides for continued investment and innovation, and with the flexibility for U.S. businesses to compete domestically and abroad.
It is clear that we need a strong, national privacy law that provides baseline data protections, applies equally to business entities – both online and offline – and is enforced by the nation’s top privacy enforcement authority, the Federal Trade Commission.
It is important to note that a national framework does not mean a weaker framework than those that have already passed in the U.S. and overseas or being contemplated in the various states.
Instead it means a preemptive framework that provides consumers with certainty that they will have the same set of robust data protections no matter where they are in the United States.