Business Roundtable Testifies on Need for National Consumer Privacy Law

February 26, 2019

Washington – Business Roundtable Vice President for Technology and Innovation Denise Zheng today testified before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce during a hearing on “Protecting Consumer Privacy in the Era of Big Data.” Zheng underscored the importance of Congress passing a national consumer privacy law this year and discussed the Roundtable’s detailed framework for such legislation.

“Data privacy is a major priority for our member companies, especially as every company relies on data and digital platforms to deliver products and services to consumers and conduct day-to-day business operations,” said Zheng in her written testimony. That is why Business Roundtable CEOs from across industry sectors have come together to call for a federal law that provides a consistent set of consumer privacy protections, promotes accountability, and fosters innovation and competitiveness. Business Roundtable member companies strongly support giving consumers control over how their personally identifiable information is collected, used and shared."

On the urgency and need for a national privacy law, Zheng said:

“… [T]here is no comprehensive federal consumer privacy law. ... [S]elect U.S. states are creating inconsistent approaches to privacy ... The result is a complex and difficult-to-navigate set of privacy regulations that creates inconsistent protections for consumers and undermines innovation in new technologies. The issue of privacy is reaching a tipping point. Perhaps for the first time in the United States, there is widespread agreement among companies across all sectors of the economy, government and consumer groups of the need for a comprehensive federal consumer privacy law.”

Zheng noted that the Business Roundtable framework – which is the product of extensive deliberation with Chief Privacy Officers of companies and has approval from CEOs across sectors – outlines the objectives a national privacy law should achieve. They include: champion consumer privacy and promote accountability; foster innovation and competitiveness; harmonize regulations; and achieve global interoperability.

She also pointed out that at the heart of the framework is a set of core individual rights business leaders believe consumers should have over their data, including:

  • The right to transparency regarding a company’s data practices, including the types of personal data that a company collects, the purposes for which these data are used, and whether and for what purposes personal data are disclosed to third parties;
  • The right to exert control over their data based upon the sensitivity of the information, including the ability to control whether their data are sold to third parties;
  • The right to access and correct inaccuracies in personal data about them; and 
  • The right to delete personal data.

Click here to read the full testimony. Click here to read the Business Roundtable framework for national privacy legislation.