CFA Demands Data Protection to Meet 21st Century Privacy Challenges

CFA Joins Other Groups in Calling for a Data Protection Agency, Strong Enforcement, No State Preemption

Washington D.C. — Today, the Consumer Federation of America joined fifteen other consumer, privacy and civil rights groups in releasing a Framework for Comprehensive Privacy Protection and Digital Rights in the United States. It calls for comprehensive federal legislation that would ensure a basic level of privacy protection for all individuals in the United States, while allowing states, as “laboratories of democracy,” to continue to innovate in order to respond appropriately to keep up with rapidly changing technology that can raise new privacy concerns.  Importantly, it also calls for a new data protection agency with the resources, rulemaking authority, and effective enforcement powers that the Federal Trade Commission lacks. The framework also includes implementing obligations to follow fair information practices; enabling states and individuals to take legal action to enforce privacy rights; governing the use of algorithms, which are increasingly used to make eligibility and other kinds of determinations about individuals and that may be biased or discriminatory; prohibiting “take it or leave it terms” that require individuals to give up their privacy rights in order to use products or services; promoting privacy innovation; and holding law enforcement agencies to a clear standard for accessing the personal information about individuals that companies hold. The following statement should be attributed to Susan Grant, Director of Consumer Protection and Privacy at CFA:

“We face a crisis in the United States with companies tracking our movements, spying on our families, and profiling us for profit, and ignoring our basic rights as human beings to privacy and fair treatment. As Congress considers privacy legislation it is essential that it provides strong obligations for data holders, rights for individuals, and enforcement powers. Our elected officials must also respect the rights of their states to take the steps they deem necessary to protect their constituents’ privacy. As part of any federal legislation we want an independent data protection agency that can focus exclusively on establishing strong and sensible rules of the road for data collection and use, provide guidance as new privacy concerns arise, and effectively enforce compliance with data protection obligations.”

Contact: Susan Grant