Internet group backs ‘national’ data privacy approach

Reuters . Washington | Published: 10:35, Sep 12,2018

 
 

People look at data on their mobiles as background with internet wire cables on switch hub is projected in this picture illustration taken May 30, 2018. -- Reuters photo

A group representing major internet companies including Facebook Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc said on Tuesday it backed modernizing US data privacy rules but wants a national approach that would preempt California’s new regulations that take effect in 2020.

The Internet Association, a group representing more than 40 major internet and technology firms including Netflix Inc, Microsoft Corp and Twitter Inc, said ‘internet companies support an economy-wide, national approach to regulation that protects the privacy of all Americans.’

The group said it backed principles that would ensure consumers should have ‘meaningful controls over how personal information they provide’ is used and should be able to know who it is being shared with.

Consumers should also be able to seek deletion of data or request corrections or take personal information to another company that provides similar services and have reasonable access to the personal information they provide, it said.

The group also told policymakers they should give companies flexibility in notifying individuals, set a ‘performance standard’ on privacy and data security protections that avoids a prescriptive approach and set national data breach notification rules.

Michael Beckerman, president and chief executive officer of the Internet Association, said in an interview the proposals were ‘very forward looking and very aggressive’ and would push to ensure the new rules apply ‘economy wide.’

He said the group ‘would be very active working with both the administration and Congress on putting pen to paper.’

The Internet Association wants new rules to be technology and sector neutral, which would mean any new privacy protections would cover anything from how grocery stores or other physical retailers use consumer data to car rental, airlines or credit card firms as well as internet service providers.

The White House said in July it was working to develop consumer data privacy policies and officials had been meeting major firms as it looked to eventually seeing the policies enshrined in legislation.

Data privacy has become an increasingly important issue, fuelled by massive breaches that have compromised the personal information of millions of US internet and social media users.

California Governor Jerry Brown signed data privacy legislation in June aimed at giving consumers more control over how companies collect and manage their personal information, although it was not as stringent as Europe’s new rules.

Beckerman said ‘we definitely want to get this in place prior to California because California got it wrong.’

The US Chamber of Commerce also unveiled privacy principles last week that aim to reverse California’s new rules.

Under the law, large companies would be required from 2020 to let consumers view the data they have collected on them, request deletion of data, and opt out of having the data sold to third parties.

Many privacy advocates have called for robust new US data protections.

Laura Moy, deputy director at Georgetown Law’s Centre on Privacy & Technology, told Congress in July that lawmakers should not overturn new state privacy rules and federal agencies ‘must be given more powerful regulatory tools and stronger enforcement authority’ and more resources.

The European Union General Data Protection Regulation took effect in May, replacing the bloc’s patchwork of rules dating back to 1995.

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