Senate Commerce Committee Hearing on Consumer Data Privacy

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On Oct 10, the Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing titled "Consumer Data Privacy: Examining Lessons From the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation and the California Consumer Privacy Act.” The hearing provided the opportunity for Sens to hear from privacy advocates about the types of consumer protections to consider in future legislation. Witnesses included: Dr. Andrea Jelinek, Chair, European Data Protection Board; Alastair Mactaggart, Board Chair, Californians for Consumer Privacy; Laura Moy, Executive Director and Adjunct Professor of Law, Georgetown Law Center on Privacy & Technology and; Nuala O’Connor, President and CEO, Center for Democracy & Technology.

The Committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD) said in his opening statement that following the Oct 8 reporting on Google+, “it is increasingly clear that industry self-regulation in this area is not sufficient.” CDT's O'Connor said, "As with many new technological advancements and emerging business models, we have seen exuberance and abundance, and we have seen missteps and unintended consequences. International bodies and US states have responded by enacting new laws, and it is time for the US federal government to pass omnibus federal privacy legislation to protect individual digital rights and human dignity, and to provide certainty, stability, and clarity to consumers and companies in the digital world." One emerging area of consensus among privacy groups and some industry officials is the need for legislation to grant state attorneys general greater authority to enforce privacy restrictions. “Employing their expertise will be necessary for a new federal privacy law to work,” O’Connor says. And Laura Moy said she plans to call for legislation to “enable robust enforcement both by a federal agency and state attorneys general, and foster regulatory agility.” Mactaggart, describing the intent of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) said, "CCPA puts the focus on giving choice back to the consumer, a choice which is sorely needed."

Senate Commerce Committee Hearing on Consumer Data Privacy Hearing Page Sen. Blumenthal Seeking Official Investigation of Google (Broadcasting&Cable) Democratic senator calls for investigation of Google+ vulnerability (Vox) Take two on privacy for Senate Commerce (Politico)