Technology

New Democrat Coalition backs privacy bill

The centrist New Democrat Coalition (NDC) on Tuesday backed a privacy bill — currently stalled in the House — that would create a comprehensive national privacy law to protect consumer data and prohibit discrimination based on personal information.

The American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA) passed out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee over the summer with bipartisan support, but has gone nowhere since.

Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), the chairwoman of the NDC, said the “legislation is a big step forward in our effort to ensure all Americans have strong data privacy and security protections under federal law.”

“Since our Coalition’s founding at the start of the Internet Age, New Dems have been policy leaders on innovation and technology,” DelBene said in a statement. “Early on, New Dems worked to tackle the challenges and embrace the opportunities of the 21st Century. Our members have also prioritized advancing policies that make privacy the default and put people in control of their own information.”

DelBene urged Democrats and Republicans to “come to an agreement on this critical issue and send a strong national privacy bill to the President Biden’s desk for his signature.”

The NDC is a House caucus with a more moderate fiscal approach and a pro-business agenda.

The ADPPA, sponsored by Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), addresses longstanding concerns on how Big Tech handles privacy data, restricting the collection, process and transfer of personal data to only what is necessary for a product or service.

The legislation also generally prohibits the transfer of personal data without the express approval of a consumer, limits discrimination from personal data usage, creates further restrictions on personal data collection for children and requires companies to provide consumers with the ability to opt out of targeted advertising.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) came out in opposition to the ADPPA last month, arguing the legislation does not “guarantee the same essential consumer protections as California’s existing privacy laws.”

“Proudly, California leads the nation not only in innovation, but also in consumer protection. With so much innovation happening in our state, it is imperative that California continues offering and enforcing the nation’s strongest privacy rights,” Pelosi said in a statement at the time. “California’s landmark privacy laws and the new kids age-appropriate design bill, both of which received unanimous and bipartisan support in both chambers, must continue to protect Californians — and states must be allowed to address rapid changes in technology.”

California is among five states that have more robust and comprehensive data privacy laws, along with Colorado, Connecticut, Utah and Virginia.

After passage of the ADPPA in committee, international digital rights advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) also noted the federal legislation would override state laws for what they called a “lower federal standard.”

The EFF also criticized the bill for loosening federal privacy laws on large telecommunication companies like AT&T and limiting the ability for individual consumers to take legal action, saying “the bill has no teeth.”

Tags Biden California Consumer data Frank Pallone Frank Pallone Nancy Pelosi Nancy Pelosi New Democrat Coalition privacy Suzan DelBene Suzan DelBene

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