Senate Commerce Committee debates Policy Principles for a Federal Data Privacy Framework

On February 27, the Senate Commerce Committee debated Policy Principles for a Federal Data Privacy Framework in the United States. Witnesses included Michael Beckerman from the Internet Association. The proceedings will examine what Congress should do to address risks to consumers and implement data privacy protections for all Americans.

According to U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, “In an age of rapid innovation in technology, consumers need transparency in how their data is collected and used,” said Wicker. “It is this committee’s responsibility and obligation to develop a federal privacy standard to protect consumers without stifling innovation, investment, or competition. As we continue to examine this critically important issue, I hope this first hearing will offer valuable insights that will help set the stage for meaningful bipartisan legislation.”

This hearing aligns with the findings of a recent Online Privacy Survey from ExpressVPN, which reports that 82% of Americans think U.S. Congress should do more in 2019 to regulate how technology companies collect and process their online personal data, and almost half (47%) think “Online Privacy” should be more of a priority than “Immigration”.

Harold Li, vice president at ExpressVPN, explained, “2018 was a disastrous year for data privacy and security—beginning with Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal and ending with data breaches at Marriott, Quora, and Google, which were all revealed within days of one another. Privacy is a fundamental right, and internet users should be in control of their personal data and how it should be used.”

Li then added, “As Congress explores data privacy legislation, citizens should look for key protections that genuinely serve their interests rather than the big tech giants represented by the Internet Association. First, consumers should be able to take back control of their data, including requiring explicit consent for the collection and use of their personal information. Second, there needs to be clear disclosure requirements and enforcement mechanisms for when companies fail to protect personal data. Third, the government should scale back its mass surveillance programs, which represent one of the greatest threats to privacy today.”


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