With little dissent, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce today passed comprehensive privacy legislation, the American Data Privacy and Protection Act, sending it to the full House for consideration.
Big news! The bipartisan privacy legislation that has been in the works for YEARS just passed in @EnergyCommerce! This legislation will limit the amount of data companies can collect, protect our children online and empower us to opt-out of surveillance-based advertising & more!— Lori Trahan (@RepLoriTrahan) July 20, 2022
Reps. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) introduced H.R. 8152 in June. The 53-2 vote drew objection only from Reps. Anna Eshoo and Nanette Díaz Barragán, both Democrats from California, though others from that state that voted to advance it expressed hesitation about whether they would support it on the full House floor without additional changes.
Rep. Eshoo had proposed an amendment that would swap the preemption section in the current bill with a ‘floor-style’ preemption that would allow states to pass stronger privacy laws of their own. A group of state attorneys general supported such an approach, but the amendment failed.
Other amendments, such as one that excludes the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) from the list of covered entities and another that clarified provisions for independent researchers to access and handle data under certain protocols, passed.
In one recent poll, more than 80% of voters supported the provisions in the proposed bill. Privacy, civil rights, and tech reform activists support the legislation.
- “The newest version of the ADPPA is another step in the right direction. The bill continues to protect civil rights and place the privacy burden primarily on the companies collecting data instead of the consumers who so rarely have the time or desire to read lengthy, confusing, and unclear privacy policies,” said Alexandra Reeve-Givens, President of the Center for Democracy & Technology, in a statement. “We appreciate the members’ ongoing efforts to negotiate an effective bill that protects consumers.”
- “This bill is the most significant effort in our country’s history to meaningfully fight data-driven discrimination in our increasingly online world,” said David Brody, Managing Attorney for the Digital Justice Initiative at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, in a statement prior to the vote.
- “For too long, the lack of meaningful privacy protections has posed serious threats to our democracy,” said Yosef Getachew, Common Cause Media and Democracy Program Director, in a statement. Companies can easily manipulate data in nefarious ways to discriminate and harm consumers. We look forward to continuing to work with members of Congress on this important proposal. It is undoubtedly a much-needed and long overdue step in the right direction to enact meaningful privacy legislation that would give individuals control over their own data and safeguard their civil rights.
- “Today’s resounding approval of this comprehensive bipartisan privacy bill is a giant leap forward for protecting people’s data from rampant abuse,” said Free Press Action Vice President of Policy and General Counsel Matt Wood. “Democratic and Republican lawmakers on the House’s key committee broke decades-old logjams on several key issues and previously intractable stumbling blocks.”
A vote on the floor may come as soon as next week.
Justin Hendrix is CEO and Editor of Tech Policy Press, a new nonprofit media venture concerned with the intersection of technology and democracy. Previously, he was Executive Director of NYC Media Lab. He spent over a decade at The Economist in roles including Vice President, Business Development & Innovation. He is an associate research scientist and adjunct professor at NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Opinions expressed here are his own.