A National Framework is Needed for Privacy Protection | Citizens Against Government Waste
The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

A National Framework is Needed for Privacy Protection

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


It is a rare occasion when business interests come together and tell the government, “please regulate us.”  But that is exactly what is occurring in the area of data privacy.

On September 10, 2019, fifty-one companies joined together in a letter to House and Senate leadership asking them to pass “a comprehensive 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 industries these companies represent are a cross-section of the nation’s economy, including automotive, banking, contracting, hospitality, insurance, pharmaceuticals, retail, shipping, technology, and telecommunications. 

The main point of the letter is to encourage a national data privacy framework that will allow U.S. leadership in innovation to continue without companies having to comply with a patchwork of separate data privacy laws for each state, or for these state laws to be superseded by one constructed by the European Union or some other foreign entity. 

While Congress is still debating on how best to regulate data privacy, state legislatures are busy enacting data security laws to protect their citizens’ personal information.  By 2018, there were at least 25 states that had enacted laws to protect personal data.  In 2019, at least nine states passed new and expanded data breach notification laws, including Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Texas.  Commerce is not limited to a state’s borders, and neither is privacy.  A national framework is necessary to provide certainty to businesses that when they cross a state border, they remain in compliance with privacy rules.  Therefore, Congress must act quickly to create a national consumer privacy standard.

Since 2008, Citizens Against Government Waste has been actively engaged in privacy-related issues, and on November 8, 2018, submitted comments to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration providing several ideals to help protect consumer data privacy protection.  These key components include a national framework; consumer choice and control; transparency; data minimization and contextuality; flexibility; and, data security and breach notification. 

Congress must promptly address consumer data privacy and ensure a national framework that provides certainty to businesses and consumers before the end of the year.

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