President Joe Biden didn’t pull any punches when in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, that prominently highlighted privacy, he targeted Republican and Democratic members of Congress saying, “We need bipartisan action from Congress to hold Big Tech accountable.”
The division in Congress has left many important issues at an impasse, and more specifically, has kept proposals to legislate the tech industry at a standstill thus far, but Biden’s deliberate naming of Congress gives hope that this is one issue for which they can reach across the aisle.
In addition, Biden made explicit remarks pushing for the passage of federal privacy regulations that restrict the gathering of sensitive data and argued in favor of outright banning targeted advertising to children. “We must hold social-media companies accountable for the experiment they are running on our children for profit,” wrote Biden.
This pointed passage from Biden will hopefully spur action by Congress to make a bipartisan effort towards comprehensive federal privacy legislation. Biden acknowledged the divisiveness while encouraging collaboration writing, “There will be many policy issues we disagree on in the new Congress, but bipartisan proposals to protect our privacy and our children; to prevent discrimination, sexual exploitation, and cyberstalking; and to tackle anticompetitive conduct shouldn’t separate us.”
The American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA) passed Senate Commerce Committee with a landslide 53-2 vote in August of 2022 but then stalled. As the ADPPA faced criticism from Senate Commerce Committee chair Sen. Maria Cantwell and others, the FTC unveiled its own set of proposed federal privacy regulations and invited feedback from the public on prospective laws pertaining to algorithmic discrimination, data security, and tailored advertising. It’s anticipated that the FTC may continue with that regulatory process in 2023, giving the public a taste of potential federal privacy regulations.
Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers made a statement saying, “President Biden is correct to acknowledge the risks posed by Big Tech for Americans. Rather than trying to address these harms unilaterally through executive action and contorting authority, the administration needs to work with Congress to enact comprehensive privacy protections through one national privacy standard that protects all Americans, especially our kids. Energy and Commerce made significant bipartisan, bicameral progress last year with the American Data Privacy and Protection Act, which included the strongest protections for kids to date. We look forward to President Biden working with us to clear any remaining obstacles standing in the way of a national privacy standard being signed into law.”
Truyo president Dan Clarke says, “This statement by Representative McMorris Rodgers extended what can be construed as somewhat of an olive branch for bipartisan cooperation and gives me renewed hope as a proponent for federal privacy legislation.”