House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Privacy Proposal

NACS is part of a coalition that outlined concerns with the American Privacy Rights Act draft.

April 19, 2024

This week, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Innovation, Data and Commerce held a legislative hearing on a group of privacy-related bills, including the draft proposal negotiated by House Energy and Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the American Privacy Rights Act of 2024.

This is the latest step to move the proposal through the legislative process. In the hearing, members of Congress urged the committee to take swift action on data privacy and children’s online safety.

Supporters of the proposal touted the latest privacy proposal as a “breakthrough” in creating a federal consumer data privacy framework and a significant step forward in the debate over privacy and data protection. For the most part, members of the subcommittee expressed support for the need of a federal bill that provides individuals with certain rights over their personal data with pre-emption language, a private right of action and data minimization standards that ensure companies only collect data they need to offer certain services and products. However, while there was agreement on general principles and concepts of the bill, there were questions on if the actual legislative language achieved these goals.

In advance of the subcommittee hearing, the Main Street Privacy Coalition, which NACS helped co-found, sent a letter outlining concerns with the American Privacy Rights Act. Several broad issues of concerns were raised in the letter, such as the relationship between service providers and covered entities and ensuring consumer rights provided in the proposal are met, the risk of increased lawsuits with the private right of action provision, whether or not the federal pre-emption language over state laws are strong enough and the ability to offer loyalty and rewards programs to consumers that want them.

The next step in the legislative process is a subcommittee markup hearing to allow members of the subcommittee to review and amend the proposal. A subcommittee markup could occur as early as the end of April or early May.