SIIA Statement: Federal Privacy Legislation Needs to Happen Now

This statement can be attributed to Jeff Joseph, President, Software & Information Industry Association

We are encouraged by press reports that House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) along with Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), reportedly have made significant progress on a federal privacy bill that includes federal preemption and a limited private right of action for substantial and individualized harm – two of our top priority concerns.

SIIA has advocated strongly for federal privacy legislation that balances legitimate concerns about individual privacy and the need for laws that support innovation and commerce. A federal privacy law that achieves this balance will ensure that consumers and companies alike do not have to navigate a patchwork of individual state privacy laws with different rights and obligations. A uniform privacy law would level the playing field for companies, no matter their size, and support small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), who are the backbone of the U.S. economy. 

We urge lawmakers to ensure that any federal privacy bill that moves ahead preserve the ability of American companies and consumers to make productive use of publicly-available information (PAI). As several states have already recognized in their privacy laws, preservation of the ability to use PAI is required by the First Amendment and the uniquely American values that underlie it.

Privacy is a serious issue for consumers and businesses of all sizes. The United States should serve as a global role model in supporting a free Internet.  It is critical that we get this right. We look forward to reviewing the proposal and working with Congress to advance a comprehensive federal privacy bill in the near term.

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