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AFP: Congress Must Protect Consumer Privacy Without Threatening Innovation

Feb 25, 2019 by AFP

Arlington, VA – This week, committees in the House and Senate will meet to discuss data and consumer privacy legislation. The House Committee on Energy & Commerce is scheduled to meet Tuesday and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation will convene Wednesday.

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) Tech Policy Analyst Billy Easley issued the following statement:

“Congress has an opportunity to protect consumer privacy while ensuring Americans continue leading the way in developing cutting-edge technology. The unintended consequences of bad privacy legislation would detract from the real value that useful data creates for the public. Privacy legislation should focus on addressing practices that harm consumers rather than simply restricting the collection of data. Americans deserve to have their privacy protected and Congress must find a balanced approach that does not threaten the freedom to innovate.”

AFP has repeatedly called for the protection of consumer privacy without hampering innovation. The group recently shared an editorial piece in RealClearPolicy calling on lawmakers to find ways to enact privacy legislation without causing unintended consequences for technological innovation.

AFP has outlined five principles it believes are essential for Congress to incorporate in any digital privacy legislation:

  1. Congress must pass legislation that federally pre-empts state privacy regulations – explicitly clarifying that federal laws and regulations regarding privacy and personally identifiable information supersede state law.
  2. Liability should depend on injury to consumers, with remedies being proportional to injury caused.
  3. The framework should primarily rely on effective enforcement to remedy consumer injury, rather than prescriptive government design of business practices.
  4. The FTC should not be granted broad rulemaking authority and its authority to combat unfair and deceptive acts or practices should be clarified.
  5. Congress should pass a unified data breach notification law.

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