Data protection

Access Now leads U.S. coalition letter calling for rights-respecting data privacy legislation

Today, Access Now, along with 16 public interest organizations, sent a joint letter to U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, calling on the committee to “listen to its constituents when enacting privacy protections” because “Americans overwhelmingly want more privacy online.”

The letter describes why Senator Cantwell’s “Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act” (COPRA) is one of the strongest pieces of privacy legislation in the Senate and that it largely satisfies the four principles of the Public Interest Privacy Legislation Principles, which Access Now signed onto, released last November. Importantly, COPRA would protect civil rights with strong anti-discrimination provisions covering protected classes in key contexts like housing and employment. It would also give states and individuals the ability to enforce the law and would preempt state laws only where they directly conflict with federal provisions.

“Now that the Senate Commerce Committee has proposed privacy legislation, it is time to get to work on what substantive provisions should be included in a privacy bill that will effectively protect online privacy and civil rights,” said Eric Null, U.S. Policy Manager at Access Now. “Congress should ensure that data protection regulations adequately respond to the overwhelming desire of individuals to have more robust digital privacy protections, and should place primary responsibility to safeguard our rights on companies, not individuals.”

Access Now is pleased to see the privacy debate move forward in Congress with the introduction of these long-awaited bills, and will continue to press for rights-respecting data protection regulations in the United States.

The full text of the letter and its signatories can be found here.