Press Releases

DelBene Introduces National Consumer Data Privacy Legislation

Bill would create national data privacy standard and give U.S. a seat at the international table

Today, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) introduced the Information Transparency and Personal Data Control Act, legislation that would create a national data privacy standard to protect our most personal information and bring our laws into the 21st Century. 

Currently there is no federal data privacy law, resulting in states pursuing their own consumer privacy policies. However, in our digital world, a patchwork of different state laws will lead to confusion for people and businesses. A national standard is necessary to establish a uniform set of rights for consumers and create one set of rules for businesses to operate in.

The bill protects personal information including data relating to financial, health, genetic, biometric, geolocation, sexual orientation, citizenship and immigration status, Social Security Numbers, and religious beliefs. It also keeps information about children under 13 years of age safe.

“Data privacy is a 21st Century issue of civil rights, civil liberties, and human rights and the U.S. has no policy to protect our most sensitive personal information from abuse. With states understandably advancing their own legislation in the absence of federal policy, Congress needs to prioritize creating a strong national standard to protect all Americans. This bill will create those critical protections,” said DelBene. “This is an international issue as much as it is a domestic concern. If we do not have a clear domestic policy, we will not be able to shape standards abroad, and risk letting others, like the European Union, drive global policy.”

Key elements of the Information Transparency and Personal Data Control Act include:

  • Plain English: Requires companies to provide their privacy policies in "plain English." 
  • Opt-in: Allows users to “opt-in” before companies can use their most sensitive private information in ways they might not expect. 
  • Disclosure: Increases transparency by requiring companies to disclose if and with whom their personal information will be shared and the purpose of sharing the information. 
  • Preemption: Creates a unified national standard and avoids a patchwork of different privacy standards by preempting conflicting state laws.
  • Enforcement: Gives the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) strong rulemaking authority to keep up with evolving digital trends and the ability to fine bad actors on the first offense. Empowers state attorneys general to also pursue violations if the FTC chooses not to act.
  • Audits: Establishes strong “privacy hygiene” by requiring companies to submit privacy audits every 2 years from a neutral third party. 

Many of these provisions are adapted from state privacy laws and proposals.

A national data privacy standard would support consumer confidence when using technology. Research shows 70 percent of Americans believe that their personal data is less secure now than it was five years ago. Similarly, 45 percent of Americans have had their personal information compromised in a data breach in the last five years with limited to no accountability for those responsible. 

“This bill shows that it is possible to craft a data protection law that protects consumers without imposing unnecessary costs on businesses. By significantly strengthening the FTC’s enforcement capabilities, establishing uniform national rules for the digital economy, and ensuring businesses focus on protecting consumers’ most sensitive information, this legislation would boost consumer protection without sacrificing innovation. We encourage Congress to use this as a roadmap for how it should move forward in the digital economy to provide certainty to consumers and business alike,” said Daniel Castro, Vice President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

“The Main Street Privacy Coalition strongly endorses the Information Transparency and Personal Data Control Act and appreciates its thoughtful approach to federal privacy legislation,” said Doug Kantor, Counsel to the Main Street Privacy Coalition. “The Information Transparency and Personal Data Control Act embodies important principles that are essential to effective and fair privacy legislation designed to protect consumers comprehensively.”

“It’s time for Congress to pass a national privacy law that gives every American the right to control their privacy, no matter where they live, with a clear set of rules for all businesses, no matter where they operate,” said Tom Quaadman, Executive Vice President, U.S. Chamber Technology Engagement Center (C_TEC). “The Information Transparency and Personal Data Control Act is a promising first step in bringing consumers, the private sector, and policymakers together to protect sensitive information from bad actors. We thank Representative DelBene for her leadership and look forward to partnering with her to make this legislation a reality.”

“Keeping user data and privacy protected is a priority for technology companies and the need for a national privacy law has never been greater. Since 2020, 22 states have either passed, proposed, or are considering comprehensive privacy laws. This approach would create a patchwork of laws across the country that are bad for consumers and bad for business. It leaves consumers confused and unprotected, depending on where they live, and hurts small and medium-sized companies who don’t have the time, money, or resources to comply with 50 different state privacy regimes that would expose them to constant legal battles that could drive them out of business. That is why Congress must pass federal privacy legislation,” said Carl Holshouser, Senior Vice President, TechNet. “We appreciate Representative DelBene’s effort to move this debate forward with the introduction of this bill. We look forward to working with her on this important issue and urge Congress to prioritize the passage of bipartisan privacy legislation that provides uniform protections, transparency, and consistency for all Americans.”

“A comprehensive, national privacy law remains a top policy priority to enable innovation while upholding the individual rights of citizens who entrust companies with their personal data. We thank Rep. DelBene for advancing this important conversation with her thoughtful and meaningful proposal. We look forward to working with her and other members of Congress to make this kind of law a reality,” said Shannon Taylor, Senior Vice President and Senior Counsel, Government Affairs, Information Technology Industry Council.

“Consumers deserve to know that their personal information is being used responsibly, and we are glad to see that comprehensive federal privacy legislation is a priority in this Congress,” said Craig Albright, Vice President, Legislative Strategy at BSA | The Software Alliance. “Representative DelBene has made an important contribution to the ongoing data privacy debate with the introduction of the Information Transparency and Personal Data Control Act. We stand ready to collaborate with her and other policymakers on this key issue.”

“The principles embodied by this legislation are critical to ensuring enactment of a balanced federal privacy law that benefits consumers and businesses alike,” National Retail Federation Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said. “By standardizing comprehensive privacy rules, the Act protects consumer data no matter where a consumer lives or which business handles the data.”

“The United States urgently needs a national privacy law that protects consumers' personal information, supports robust digital innovation and competition, and avoids the creation of a confusing patchwork of state privacy laws. The bill crafted by Representative DelBene, and supported by the House New Democrat Coalition (NDC), which she chairs, can serve as the point of departure for long overdue Congressional action on privacy,” said Will Marshall, President of the Progressive Policy Institute. “Her bill would lead to more transparency about data practices, more consumer control over how personal data is used, and more resources for the FTC to enforce privacy rights. At the same time, it also offers a pragmatic alternative to Europe's unduly restrictive and poorly drafted GDPR, while preempting state laws that would force small businesses to run a gauntlet of conflicting rules. Kudos to Representative DelBene and the NDC for once again providing creative ideas for keeping America in the vanguard of technological innovation.”

“Together, we have a lot of work to do in the coming years to restore the promise of the Internet. One of the areas of greatest need is in creating a single working privacy standard for the United States. In her bill, the approach Representative DelBene takes to protecting Americans’ privacy is smart, measured, and will undoubtedly be highly influential in shaping the approach Congress takes in the future. It is a very welcome addition to the vital debate underway about our digital future,” said Simon Rosenberg, President of NDN.

A summary of the Information Transparency and Personal Data Control Act can be found here and the bill text is available here.