SIIA Statement on the American Privacy Rights Act and Kids Online Safety Act Advancement

Today the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce voted to advance the American Privacy Rights Act (APRA) and the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) to the full Committee for consideration. The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) released the following statement now that the bill will advance to the full House Energy and Commerce Committee for consideration.

The following can be attributed to Chris Mohr, President, Software & Information Industry Association:

“Today’s subcommittee hearing hit on many common themes and concerns that SIIA shares. While comprehensive privacy online protection is the goal we’re all working toward, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that APRA and KOSA fall short.

APRA should be focused on protecting consumers’ privacy against harmful data practices. We remain concerned that the bill risks restricting large amounts of useful and widely accepted data that consumers and many small businesses have come to rely on. By imposing broad restrictions, APRA may inadvertently hamper services and innovations.

Certain provisions of APRA would also undermine the United States’ position as a global leader in tech and AI development. Despite its intentions, APRA granting the FTC rulemaking authority over future permitted uses only serves to license innovation from the top down – which is the surest way to dampen it. Congress has historically struggled to pass laws that anticipate the future uses of technology or provide a vision beyond the present. As such, this bill restricts uses of data to contemporary understandings and fails to provide a forward-looking framework that supports future technological innovation.

Perhaps most importantly, a comprehensive privacy bill should provide consumers with greater autonomy over their own data and how it is used. Ironically, this legislation actually removes consumers’ control over their most sensitive data by telling Americans what they can and can’t do with this information, breaking with standards and emerging norms set by almost every U.S. state privacy law.

Lastly, it is critical that legislation meant to protect children gets these protections right. SIIA continues to be a strong advocate for keeping our nation’s children and teens safe online, with kids and teens relying on online services for staying connected and maintaining access to educational resources. But both APRA and KOSA take the wrong approach to keeping America’s youth safe on the internet. APRA would make all information about minors sensitive data, placing new restrictions on how parents might be able to share family photos with relatives or how educational institutions might connect with prospective students. KOSA, for its part, establishes a duty of reasonable care, but fails to define “reasonable” or even the steps that should be taken to exercise care.

Strengthening America’s privacy standards and ensuring everyone can have a safe experience online is something we fully support, but neither APRA nor KOSA are the way to do this.”


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