CyberScout

More than 50 US businesses call for federal privacy law

federal privacy law

Fifty-one CEOs representing U.S.-based businesses sent an open letter to Congress requesting a comprehensive federal consumer privacy law.

Signed by the CEOs AT&T, Comcast, General Motors, Mastercard, and Wal-Mart, among others, the letter requested “a comprehensive consumer data privacy law that strengthens protections for consumers and establishes a national privacy framework to enable continued innovation and growth in the digital economy.”

The cosignatories of the letter are members of the Business Roundtable, an association of executives focuses on “working to promote a thriving U.S. economy… through sound public policy.”

Attached to the letter was a proposal for a consumer policy framework that encompasses the need for federal legislation to override state privacy laws, a definition of personal data, the creation of a federal standard for data breach notifications, and the assignment of primary enforcement responsibilities to the FTC. The framework also calls for “no private right of action,” meaning that consumers would be unable to bring lawsuits for violations of the law.

While the Business Roundtable requests a more uniform law to “ensure that consumers are not faced with confusion about their rights and protections based on a patchwork of inconsistent state laws,” many critics suggest that the ulterior motive is to pass a weaker set of privacy protections to supercede more stringent state laws currently in place in Maine and California.