Dear Chair Cantwell and Ranking Member Wicker:
On behalf of Business Roundtable, thank you for conducting the September 29 hearing titled “Protecting Consumer Privacy.” We write to urge this Committee to pass a federal consumer data privacy law that will protect and empower consumers and provide clear, uniform obligations for businesses nationwide, while fostering American innovation and global competitiveness.
Business Roundtable is an association of chief executive officers of America’s leading companies. Business Roundtable member companies operate across all sectors of the economy, employ 20 million people, and reach virtually every American consumer. Our companies rely on data and data-driven processes and solutions, such as digital platforms, every day to deliver and improve innovative products and services across the U.S. and around the world. Consumer trust and confidence are essential elements of our businesses.
Consumers should not be expected to navigate a complex regulatory environment that applies different rules depending upon the state in which they reside, the state in which they are accessing the internet, and the state in which the company’s operation is providing those resources or services. As the regulatory landscape becomes increasingly fragmented and more complex, U.S. innovation and global competitiveness in the digital economy are also threatened. A national data privacy framework that provides clear, consistent requirements to strengthen consumer trust and to establish a stable policy environment in which new services and technologies can flourish within a well-understood legal and regulatory framework is critically needed.
Business Roundtable’s Framework for Consumer Privacy Legislation provides a detailed guide for addressing the key issues of an effective federal data privacy law, including the creation of robust protections for consumers by requiring businesses to take responsibility for the collection, use and sharing of personal information, regardless of jurisdiction.
While Business Roundtable believes the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has an important role to play enforcing a national consumer data privacy framework, we urge the Committee to use this opportunity to renew its focus on moving towards a bipartisan consensus on privacy legislation. Congress should provide new resources to the FTC as part of bipartisan, comprehensive privacy legislation that provides clear direction to the agency and a long-term foundation for its rulemaking and enforcement responsibilities.
Business Roundtable reiterates its support of the Committee’s leadership and efforts on this important matter. The opportunity to lead on enhanced consumer data privacy is now. We look forward to continuing our work with you on this essential issue.
Executive Vice President, Policy