House bill

Bipartisan House bill offers new data privacy protections but faces big hurdle in Senate

The House Energy and Commerce Committee kicked off its campaign for a new federal privacy law on Tuesday, considering a bipartisan proposal that faces an uphill battle with Democrats in the Senate. .

US privacy and data protection law aims to minimize the collection of people’s data, create protections for Americans against discriminatory use of their data, and give people the ability to opt out of targeted online advertising .

The Energy and Commerce Committee’s bipartisan leaders, Representatives Frank Pallone, Democrat of New Jersey, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Republican of Washington, drafted the proposal alongside Sen. Roger Wicker, Republican of Mississippi.

Mr Pallone, the chairman of the committee, said the bill is needed to restore choice to consumers online and represents the first serious attempt at a comprehensive national privacy bill. with bicameral and bipartisan support.

“People can’t navigate the modern world without their smartphone or email address, and with the minimal protections that apply today, most Americans have little reason to believe their data won’t be used. unexpectedly,” Mr. Pallone told a hearing on Tuesday. on consumer protection.

Some Democrats were not enthusiastic about the new privacy legislation.

Senator Maria Cantwell, Democrat of Washington, who chairs the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, was absent when the bill was rolled out earlier this month. His committee, of which Mr. Wicker is the most senior member, will play a key role in passing privacy legislation.

Ms Cantwell said she sided with Sen. Brian Schatz, Democrat of Hawaii, who urged an alternative process to what the House committee is pursuing.

Ms. Rodgers, a senior House committee member, said Tuesday that she sees the bill as supplanting dozens of state policies with a national standard focused on protecting people, especially children, from harm. Big Tech.

“This bill ends an unenforceable patchwork of state laws, ensures that protections don’t change from state to state, and provides certainty for Americans and businesses,” Rodgers said during the hearing. .

Proponents of new privacy laws are unconvinced by the bill as it currently stands.

Former Federal Trade Commission member Maureen K. Ohlhausen told lawmakers they needed to make changes before moving the bill forward. She represented the 21st Century Privacy Coalition, whose members she identified as AT&T, Comcast, T-Mobile and Verizon.

The bill treats video and broadband services differently from voice services in a way that could disrupt the market for consumers and providers, according to Ms. Ohlhausen.

However, she said her coalition sees the passage of privacy legislation this year as “essential”.