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The American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA), a new bipartisan data privacy bill, seeks to instill a national standard on what companies can gather from consumers and how they can use it. It has caught the eye of lawmakers on both sides of the spectrum. Past federal legislation concerning consumer privacy have had trouble advancing in the polarized political sphere. To understand the importance of the ADPPA, let’s take a look at crucial parts of the proposal and its implications.
The ADPPA was introduced by House Energy and Commerce Chair Rep. Frank Pallone (NJ), Ranking Member Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA) and Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Ranking Member Sen. Roger Wicker (MS). As a result of the discussion draft released June 3rd and the subsequent hearing on June 14th, debate on consumer data privacy has rekindled. Let’s look at some important aspects of the bill, outlined by David P. Saunders, a partner at McDermott Will & Emery:
In 2019, a similar bill named the Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act (COPRA) was introduced by Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (WA), Sens. Brian Schatz (HI), Amy Klobuchar (MN) and Ed Markey (MA). They are similar in that they provide user privacy rights to “access, delete and correct their data,” require entities covered in the bill to provide consumers with details on data collection and security practices, and impose obligations to minimize data storage beyond what is “reasonably necessary and proportionate.”
However, the ADPPA sets itself apart from the COPRA in several key features outlined below:
With midterms looming over lawmakers, let’s take a look at where certain figures stand as those up for election work to tighten their policy positions.
During the first hearing of the bill, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers stated, “the American Data Privacy and Protection Act focuses on requiring companies to only keep information they need, while encouraging them to take steps to better secure data that is retained” and that the law would be “leading the way in this draft bill to unleash the power of small businesses and entrepreneurs, the engines of America’s economy,” referencing the aforementioned small business exemption.
Sen. Roger Wicker, who released the draft of the bill with Rep. Rodgers, similarly highlighted the necessity for privacy legislation like the ADPPA, tweeting, “This legislation represents the best opportunity to finalize comprehensive federal data privacy protections in years…the American people shouldn’t wait any longer.”
In a joint statement, Wicker and Rodgers, along with the third sponsor of the ADPPA, Rep. Frank Pallone, stated that “This bill strikes a meaningful balance on issues that are critical to moving comprehensive data privacy legislation through Congress, including the development of a uniform, national data privacy framework, the creation of a robust set of consumers’ data privacy rights, and appropriate enforcement mechanisms.”
Although the bill is in its early stages, there are also a few opposing voices in the chambers. After the release of the draft, Sen. Cantwell, a sponsor of the COPRA, criticized the ADPPA and signaled that she had her own competing proposal. Sen. Schatz, who has led several privacy bills in the Senate, wrote a letter to the three sponsors urging them to “shift the burden of data privacy from consumers to companies” by including a corporate duty of loyalty in the legislation.
Business groups also have criticized the bill. Jordan Crenshaw, the Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce’s Technology Engagement Center said, “We support a national data privacy law, but remain concerned about the impact of the introduction of a private right of action and are engaging with the bill sponsors on this and other issues.” Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel of NetChoice, a tech-focused trade group including Amazon, Facebook and Google, held similar sentiments, saying, “As it stands, the bill leaves a fractured and complex national privacy environment – making it nearly impossible for Americans to know how their data is treated as they travel between states or visit different websites.”
However, another influential tech figure was direct in his support for the ADPPA. In a letter to Congress after meeting with legislators, Apple CEO Tim Cook urged lawmakers to advance the American Data Privacy and Protection Act “as soon as possible.”
ABOUT THE WRITER
Katherine Zhang is a contributor to Identity Review from the University of California, Berkeley.
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