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FTC Calling for National Data Privacy Law: Data Privacy Trends

Sure, we’ve talked about California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).  And, we’ve also noted that there are at least 15 state data privacy laws that are working their way through the legislative process.  But, is there anybody pushing for a national data privacy law?  At least one Federal agency is doing so.

According to Naked Security (FTC renews call for single federal privacy law, written by Lisa Vaas – with hat tip to Sharon Nelson and the excellent Ride the Lightning blog), the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is again “beating the drum” for the long-discussed and much-debated national data privacy law, the lack of which keeps the country from parity with the EU and its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), or with the various states (including California) that are working on their own laws.

Earlier this month, FTC commissioners testified before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee and as reported by The New York Times, they addressed how a national privacy law could regulate how big tech companies like Facebook and Google collect and handle user data.  Of course, besides consumer protection, the FTC is looking for more power. Commissioners asked Congress to strengthen the agency’s ability to police violations, asking for more resources and greater authority to impose penalties.

In February, both the House and Senate held hearings on privacy legislation, transparency about how data is collected and shared, and the stiffening of penalties for data-handling violations.  A number of lawmakers agree that we need a new, single federal privacy law and they are now considering several laws and bills, including the Data Care Act and the American Data Dissemination Act.  One senator even proposed a bill that would throw execs into jail for up to 20 years if they play “loosey-goosey” with consumer privacy.  Yeah, that’ll happen.

With the FTC in settlement talks with Facebook following its 13-month investigation into privacy violations stemming from the Cambridge Analytica privacy debacle, there are certainly plenty of reasons to pass legislation to standardize the handling of data privacy breaches.  All we have to do is to get Congress to agree on it.  Easy, right?  ;o)

So, what do you think?  Do we need a national data privacy law similar to Europe’s GDPR?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

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