On February 13, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released model data privacy legislation and urged Congress to pass a federal data privacy law.

“Technology has changed the way consumers and businesses share and use data, and voluntary standards are no longer enough,said Tim Day, senior vice president of the Chamber’s Technology Engagement Center, or “C TEC.” “New rules of the road are necessary and it is time for Congress to pass a federal privacy law. The Chamber’s model privacy legislation puts consumers in control and ensures businesses can innovate while operating with certainty and providing transparency.”

According to the Chamber, its model legislation would:

  • Eliminate a patchwork of regulations that are confusing for consumers and businesses;
  • Empower consumers through transparency, opt-out, and data deletion;
  • Support innovation through regulatory certainty; and
  • Provide the Federal Trade Commission with additional enforcement power.

As we’ve previously reported, all signs suggest that Congress may finally enact comprehensive data privacy legislation. The patchwork of existing state laws frustrates pro-business groups like the Chamber, the Internet Association, and the Business Roundtable. Moreover, leading tech companies have lobbied Congress for data privacy legislation.

Consistent with its concern about the patchwork of existing state laws, the U.S. Chamber’s model data privacy legislation, the “Federal Consumer Privacy Act,” would preempt state and local laws (including tort laws) “to the extent that such [laws] related to, or serve as the basis for enforcement action as it relates to, the privacy or security of personal information.”

According to the Chamber, this broad preemption would support innovation by creating regulatory certainty: “Businesses would comply with one nationwide privacy framework, as opposed to having to navigate 50 unique state laws.”

The Chamber’s model legislation also includes a number of consumer-friendly provisions. The model legislation would:

  • Require businesses to be transparent about how personal information is used;
  • Require businesses to comply with requests from consumers regarding how their personal information is used or shared; and
  • Provide consumers, subject to certain exceptions, with opt-out and data-deletion rights.

A copy of the Chamber’s one-pager on its model legislation is available here, and the full text of the model legislation is available here.