In an open letter to the US Congress, the CEOs of Amazon, AT&T, Dell, IBM, Qualcomm, SAP, Salesforce, Visa, Mastercard, JP Morgan Chase, State Farm, Walmart, and others are asking for the adoption of federal legislation on data privacy.

The open-letter was sent on behalf of Business Roundtable, an association made up of the CEOs of America’s largest companies.

The open letter said:

There is now widespread agreement among companies across all sectors of the economy, policymakers and consumer groups about the need for a comprehensive federal consumer data privacy law that provides strong, consistent protections for American consumers,

As Chief Executive Officers of leading companies across industries, our companies reach virtually every American consumer and rely on data and digital platforms every day to deliver and improve our products and services. Consumer trust and confidence are essential to our businesses. We are committed to protecting consumer privacy and want consumers to have confidence that companies treat their personal information responsibly.

The proposal includes many of the provisions that appear in the GDPR, but in much broader terms. For example, the framework defines “personal data” as “data that is held by the organization and identifies or is identifiable to a natural, individual person.”

This definition is substantially narrower than that in Article 4 of the GDPR, as well as Section 1798.140 of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

It is debatable whether the focus is actually on everyday consumers. ZDNet noted that this might be more about protecting the interests of tech companies than anything else.

As businesses across the U.S. continue to fall foul of privacy breaches and the consequential financial penalties, it is the opinion of many, that clear federal privacy laws could help companies avoid punitive fines and reputational damage.

GAO give ‘go-ahead’ for GDPR clone

Earlier this year, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), gave Congress the go-ahead to pass federal internet data privacy legislation to enhance consumer protections, similar to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). GAO recommended that the FTC be placed in charge of enforcing any future user data privacy legislation across the US.

However, while individual states continue to make their own arrangements for consumer privacy, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are still debating what form a federal privacy bill should take. And as matters continue to drag on, agreement on consumers’ rights shows no signs of being solidified any time soon. Read more…

Sources: ZDNet, Engadget

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