The following statement can be attributed to Chris Mohr, President, the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), regarding the updated draft of the American Privacy Rights Act of 2024 (APRA), released on May 21:

It is critical for Congress to pass comprehensive federal privacy legislation to end the current state privacy patchwork that is harmful to consumers and businesses alike. The latest version of APRA is well-intentioned, contains meaningful provisions, and is an improvement over the previous version. In the updated draft, we were also pleased to see greater rulemaking flexibility around how APRA’s restrictions on data use may evolve with innovative technologies, as well as clarifications around artificial intelligence tools, how these tools are used, and where additional scrutiny is warranted.

Significant issues nonetheless remain. In its current form, APRA could hamstring U.S. global competitiveness by unnecessarily restricting the purposes for which data may be used, thus reducing the availability of data for general purpose technological development. It would also unintentionally restrict a large amount of positive commercial publishing activity on which U.S. consumers rely, complicating routine activities such as journalism and analysis that relies on publicly available information and reducing the availability of free online services.

The new draft also includes language to update the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. We appreciate the work done to harmonize requirements and urge continued engagement with stakeholders to incorporate language that enable young people to access high-quality and age-appropriate content. We specifically ask for language that would clarify that contextual advertising can be used to support age-appropriate content for all ages.

The need to get federal privacy legislation right – not just passed quickly – is critical and legislators should keep working to ensure a safe online experience that is regulated responsibly.