FTC Commissioners Continue Calls for National Data Privacy and Security Legislation

May 29, 2019

On May 8, 2019, Commissioners from Federal Trade Commission repeated their calls for federal data privacy legislation enforceable by the FTC at a hearing by the House Committee on Energy & Commerce titled “Oversight of the Federal Trade Commission: Strengthening Protections for Americans’ Privacy and Data Security.”

As in prior hearings, the Commissioners expressed almost unanimous support for passage of comprehensive, national data privacy and security legislation to be primarily enforced by the FTC.  But the hearing further highlighted certain disagreements among the key stakeholders about the scope and goals of the legislation and the FTC’s enforcement and rulemaking authority.

On that point in particular, the Commissioners generally expressed reluctance to seek broad rulemaking authority under a new privacy law in order to avoid supplanting any value judgments made by Congress in the privacy law.  Chairman Simons instead testified that Congress should grant “targeted rulemaking authority” so that the FTC may update the implementation of the law to keep up with ongoing business and technological developments.

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