February 26, 2023

Representative Gus Bilirakis, Chairman
Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee
House Energy and Commerce Committee

Re: Comments for the Record – “Promoting U.S. Innovation and Individual Liberty through a National Standard for Data Privacy” Hearing on March 1, 2023

Dear Chairman Bilirakis,

            I would like to thank you again for the opportunity to testify at the Feb. 1, 2023, hearing “Economic Danger Zone: How America Competes to Win the Future Versus China.” I am thrilled to see that the March 1, 2023, hearing “Promoting U.S. Innovation and Individual Liberty through a National Standard for Data Privacy” will focus on a comprehensive data privacy and security law. Such a law is needed now more than ever. Data privacy and security is a central part of the R Street Institute’s Cybersecurity and Emerging Threats team’s work. I respectfully submit a series of resources as “comments for the record” to aid the subcommittee as it considers a federal data privacy and security law.

            For background, we published a report last year in conjunction with the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center to provide recommendations to address some of the most challenging aspects of a federal data privacy and security law, including preemption, a private right of action and the role of the Federal Trade Commission. Our research included consultations with over 125 entities of varying ideologies, and we also held multiple events and Hill briefings. We were thrilled to see many of the recommendations make it into the bipartisan, bicameral American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA) last congress. We believe that a federal data privacy and security law will require consensus and compromise to become a reality.

           One key aspect of our ongoing work is the intersection of privacy and security, including how national security and data security should be key drivers in passing a federal law. That was the subject of my Feb. 1 testimony.[1] However, consumers and industry would also directly benefit from a federal law. Notably, some proposals are only targeted toward protecting children’s privacy. While protecting children is a laudable goal, we believe that a comprehensive law that protects all Americans regardless of age is critical.

            Thank you for your consideration of these materials. Please do not hesitate to let me know if I can be a resource to you or any member of the subcommittee.


                                                                                    Brandon Pugh
Policy Director & Senior Fellow
Cybersecurity & Emerging Threats Team
[email protected]

Material Overview:

  1. Brandon Pugh, “If the president is genuine on data privacy and security, specifics would help,” February 2023.
  2. Steven Ward, “Data Privacy and Security Lessons from the Latest Law Enforcement Data Exposure,” January 2023.
  3. Brandon Pugh, “Readout from a Congressional Data Privacy and Security Briefing,” September 2022.
  4. Tatyana Bolton et al., “The Path to Reaching Consensus for Federal Data Security and Privacy Legislation,” May 2022. – Intro article with three components:

[1] Brandon Pugh and Steven Ward, “House Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce Hearing,” Feb. 1, 2023. https://www.rstreet.org/commentary/house-subcommittee-on-innovation-data-and-commerce-hearing-overview-featuring-r-streets-brandon-pugh.