On July 20, the House Energy & Commerce Committee (E&C) advanced a comprehensive data security and digital privacy measure with near unanimous support from both Democrats and Republicans.
H.R. 8152, the American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA) represents a major step forward by Congress in its two-decade effort to develop a national data security and digital privacy framework that would establish new protections for all Americans.
Notably, the legislation garnered the bipartisan and bicameral support of House E&C Committee Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ-06) and Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-05), in addition to Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-09) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL-12), the leaders of E&C’s Consumer Protection Subcommittee, as well as Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), the Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce Committee, which has primary jurisdiction over this issue (The committee released an explanatory analysis and synopsis).
Lawmakers compromised on several divisive subjects that have scuttled previous efforts, such as whether to preempt similar state laws, create a new private right of action, or allow state attorneys general to help enforce the law.
The willingness to negotiate and reach agreement on many substantive legislative proposals has become a dying art in the Capitol. However, the public’s increasing concerns over how “Big Tech” collects, stores, protects, manages, and often monetizes personal data finally reached a critical mass that allowed committee members to overcome longstanding disagreements.
Technology companies remain the primary focus of federal lawmakers, but the legislation’s scope would apply new rules and regulations on businesses and organizations that collect consumer data, including attorneys and law firms.
While the ADPPA overcame an important hurdle when it sailed through E&C, it is unlikely that the House or Senate will have time to formally consider the proposal before the conclusion of the 117th Congress on January 3, 2023. However, the ADPPA could become a priority issue once the new Congress convenes, regardless of the results of the forthcoming midterm elections.
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