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Latta: Time is Right to Work Together on a Federal Data Privacy Solution

Washington, February 26, 2019 | Drew Griffin (202-225-6405)

Congressman Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) called on Republicans and Democrats to work together to implement a strong federal data privacy framework at an Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce (CPAC) hearing this morning. Latta currently serves as the Republican Leader of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee and chaired the CPAC Subcommittee last Congress.

In his remarks, Congressman Latta alluded to privacy legislation passed last year by the California legislature. The law, which will take effect in 2020, will have a massive impact on U.S. commerce even though most Americans were not able to weigh in on the law through their state or federal representatives.

Latta said, “Last Congress, the Energy and Commerce Committee held nearly a dozen hearings discussing privacy and security issues. That includes much publicized hearings where we heard from the CEOs of Facebook and Twitter about how those companies collect, safeguard, and use data. From those hearings, it was clear that while these companies provide a service that Americans like, consumers aren’t always clear about what happens with their personal information. 

“With the California law slated to take effect at the beginning of next year, time is of the essence. In divided government, it’s not always easy to tackle the tough problems, but I believe the time is right to work together on a federal data privacy solution.

“Both consumer groups and business organizations have come on board in calling for a national standard. We all agree that consumers should have transparency and accountability, and that we want to ensure that the United States stays the prime location for innovation and technology.”

Video of Latta’s statement and questions are available here at 1:46:08. 

Latta asked Dr. Roslyn Layton, Visiting Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, about the three biggest concerns with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the new California law.

Dr. Layton said, “I’d say the first concern from the U.S. perspective would be 1st Amendment, free speech concerns. The level of government requirements is so high that it reduces expression. That’d be number one. I’d certainly say safety would be number two, in regard to just what you just described. You have other issues with people who have committed crimes in the European Union who are asking that their records be erased or removed – they’ve committed murders, child molestation, and so on. That’s a serious problem. I would say thirdly, a sort of dumbing down of consumers. It’s creating a false sense of security that somehow regulators have the answer of what to do but doesn’t allow consumers to take responsibility for when they go online. I would add number four. You are freezing in place technologies that don’t let them evolve.”

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