For the past year, discussions involving data privacy have heated up in Congress, and new federal legislation now seems inevitable. Today, a leading industry group, supported by Google, Amazon, and Facebook, proposed a “grand bargain” with lawmakers, arguing that any new federal data privacy bill should preempt state privacy laws and repeal the sector-specific federal ones entirely. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation’s (ITIF) proposal lays out a few basic characteristics for legislation that the industry has frequently discussed in the past, like requiring more transparency, data interoperability, and users to opt into the collection of sensitive personal data. All 50 states have their own laws when it comes to notifying users after a data breach, and ITIF asks for a single breach standard in order to simplify compliance. It also calls to expand the Federal Trade Commission’s authority to fine companies that violate the data privacy law, something industry leaders have asked for in the past. But the “bargain” would also preempt state laws like California’s new privacy act, and repeal every other existing piece of federal privacy legislation, including landmark laws like Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Every sector- or issue-specific privacy law would be removed, and state and local lawmakers would be unable to draft stricter, more specific regulations in the future. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) would be one of the repealed laws. It was authored by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) in the late… [Read full story]
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