Congress is set to debate a new data privacy bill. While WR and our national partner, the National Retail Federation (NRF), support nationwide data privacy protections, the proposed legislation falls short of achieving our mutual goals. The bill fails to protect consumers because it doesn’t give them clear, meaningful, and understandable control over their personal information.
There are four sections of the bill that must be remedied. First, the federal law must preempt all existing state laws because it is difficult for consumers and businesses to understand and comply with a convoluted mess of contradictory regulations. Second, the provision to empower trial attorneys to sue or threaten lawsuits against small defenseless retailers in an attempt to extract settlement money must be removed. Third, loyalty and frequent shopper programs must be protected, as customers expect and demand. And fourth, it is unfair for broadband providers, big tech, banks, and other industry sectors to be exempted from responsibility in the bill. These companies maintain and collect sensitive customer information and should be required to adhere to the same standards and rules as retailers for the protection and benefit of consumers.
WR helped write and has supported comprehensive state legislation for several years. Unfortunately, the House of Representatives has failed to act on the bills. If the federal bill were more in line with the Washington State bill, WR would advocate strongly for it. We appreciate our fellow stakeholders who have dedicated resources and time to examine this critical issue. WR is confident that addressing these four sections will produce a law that works for and protects all Americans.
NRF has launched a call to action to fix the legislation’s shortcomings. Please take a moment to weigh in with your Congressional Representative here.