Conservative Think Tank says FTC Should Be Sole Federal Privacy Regulator
As states begin to pass their own privacy laws, experts from conservative group the R Street Institute pushed for a federal privacy law with the Federal Trade Commission as the “primary enforcer.”
“We need to have one standard, one set of laws. It should not matter where you live…you should have the exact same basic privacy rights as anyone, anywhere,” Brandon Pugh, senior fellow and policy counsel at R Street, said at an R Street event Wednesday. He added that California, Colorado, Virginia and Utah have their own privacy laws. “If we don’t do a federal law, [more] will continue.”
During Wednesday’s event, Lauren Zabierek, executive director of the Cyber Project at Harvard Kennedy School, said that the FTC should have “the primary role for overseeing privacy regulation,” while Pugh said that this would avoid a “patchwork of agencies all taking a different element of privacy.”
In a blog post on its website on Tuesday, R Street said, “The key to striking the right balance lies in ‘guided FTC rulemaking’ in a federal law, echoed by privacy experts and private sector companies alike.” That conclusion was drawn after receiving feedback from 130 stakeholders, the think tank said.
Data privacy is one of the most pressing issues in the U.S. “The United States is one of the industrialized countries that lacks a single, national data privacy law,” said cyber experts from the R Street Institute. “The current lack of federal privacy legislation affects the economy, national security and consumer safety and is—at its most basic level—not a controversial issue for most Americans.”
Because of this, “multiple leaders of top-tier tech companies have, in recent weeks, called for privacy legislation.”