Push for Data Privacy Protections in the U.S.

This month, The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) took effect in California. The CCPA is a comprehensive law that aims to enhance privacy rights and increase consumer protections for residents of the Golden State; it is the first data privacy law of its kind in the U.S. Enactment of the CCPA follows the implementation of similar data privacy legislation in the European Union titled the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which went into effect in 2018.

In recent years, there have been efforts on the state and federal level to enact legislation to better protect and secure American’s data, but measures in the U.S. often fell short. After passage of the CCPA in California, there was a push in other states to follow California’s lead and pass similar legislation. The National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) reports that in the beginning of 2019 there was an increase in the number of data privacy bills introduced in the states. States are expected to pick up their efforts again this year in 2020.

As states continue working to pass their own data privacy laws, there’s growing support for action on this issue in Congress. Federal legislation would establish one standard to protect all Americans uniformly. A federal law would also help businesses who operate in various states comply with one standard, instead of having to comply with several different standards. Legislative action on this issue has stalled in Congress previously because of differing views among Members of Congress.

An effort to introduce a bipartisan comprehensive data privacy bill is currently being led in the House Energy and Commerce Committee by two committee members, Reps. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-WA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). The Committee has expressed their interest in advancing a bipartisan bill for the House’s consideration and draft legislation is currently being circulated among industry groups and other stakeholders.

Research shows that American consumers are concerned over data privacy and the protection of their personal information as data collection practices go unregulated. With growing bipartisan support for data privacy protections, and state and federal lawmakers looking to move forward on legislation, data privacy is an issue that will continue to be watched closely this year.

Gloria Story Dittus, Chairman, Story Partners