It’s important to note that the senate will be holding a number of future hearings* to receive insight from privacy and consumer advocacy groups regarding their thoughts on federal privacy legislation. There will be a lot insight to gather, which makes these hearings featuring big Silicon Valley players even more interesting.
The senate hearing was attended by well-known large tech firms (Apple, Charter, Google, AT&T, Twitter) and it’s clear they are comfortable with and would even prefer federal legislation if it preempts state privacy laws. If it does not preempt state law, I don’t think it would be strongly supported by companies who are ultimately looking for a balance between compliance and consumer protections.
Some have commented that a patchwork of state law would be burdensome to comply with. None of the companies featured support a GDPR-like regulation, but urge a more balanced approach. Overall, big data companies see the privacy wave coming to the U.S. and want to have input into the requirements if they’re going to have to abide by these regulations. It is no longer if, but when federal legislation will be implemented.
It’s very early in the process, and lawmakers will not be rushing to hastily push through legislation that does not provide adequate security protection to consumers. Further, these hearings are not far enough down the road that any specifics are being discussed, just the pros/cons of a privacy legislation at the federal and/or state level. The specific types of data that would be included or exceptions (healthcare, financial, etc.) were not discussed.
*Committee chair and South Dakota Republican John Thune informed attendees that a second hearing next month will include consumer advocate testimony on digital privacy issues.
— By Matt Dumiak, CompliancePoint– Director of Privacy Services, Customer Engagement Compliance