Sen Cantwell casts doubt on prospect of major data privacy bill

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Senate Commerce Chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA), whose panel controls the fate of any data privacy bill, stated she’s not close to supporting a major proposal recently unveiled by Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate. In addition, she said Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) has said he will not bring the current bill up for a vote in the upper chamber, signaling roadblocks for the push. Lawmakers including Cantwell have tried to hash out a deal on a bipartisan privacy law for years, amid mounting concerns over the data protection practices of Silicon Valley giants, to little avail. But the recent introduction of the bipartisan proposal has breathed new life into the negotiations, which have languished amid partisan disagreements over the scope of the bill. Cantwell cited concerns that the legislation has “major enforcement holes” and is too weak as it stands to warrant passing a federal law that could override state privacy laws, such as the landmark California Consumer Privacy Act. “People who want to get a bill know that you can’t preempt states with a weak federal standard, so hopefully they’ll come back to the table,” said Cantwell, seemingly referring to Reps Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Sen Roger Wicker (R-MS). Schumer’s office indicated that he would support legislation that has the backing of Cantwell, Wicker, Pallone and McMorris Rodgers.

Top Senate Democrat casts doubt on prospect of major data privacy bill