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Is a Federal Data Privacy Law on the Way?

Author: Tim Steele

Fueling the momentum for a national data privacy law in the U.S., another piece of legislation has been put forth to protect consumers and their data.

The Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act, introduced by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, would establish an office within the Federal Trade Commission to enforce rules that would give consumers more control over their data, according to a Naked Security article.

Similar to the California Consumer Privacy Act (going into effect January 1) and Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (already in effect), the proposed legislation would require organizations collecting data to share it with consumers or delete it upon request, as well as identify any third parties with whom the data has been shared. The law would have penalties for mismanagement.

“The text of the bill doesn’t specify the FTC’s penalties but it does allow for an award of up to $1,000 per violation per day in individual civil suits, which could run into billions of dollars,” the article notes.

The legislation comes on the heels of another piece of legislation introduced in October by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, called the Mind Your Own Business Act (formerly the Consumer Data Protection Act).

Although the legislation is thought to have little chance of progressing with a partisan divide, the  fact that there are back-to-back proposals signal mounting support for a national approach to data privacy regulation.

American consumers are ready for data privacy regulation. In fact, 66% of people surveyed by Akamai said they want the U.S. to adopt GDPR-style rules, according to an article by GovTech. A separate survey by SAS found 67% of those polled believe the government should do more to protect their privacy.

Preparing for regulation

Whether or not there is imminent national legislation, it is critical for organizations to prepare for stricter regulations around data privacy. With California’s law going into effect in less than a month and other states considering similar legislation, it is clear that businesses and consumers in the U.S. will have to navigate a piecemeal framework in the years to come.

As these legislative proposals come about, organizations cannot afford to sit back and simply hope to comply and protect their valuable data. Heureka recommends that companies draft privacy policies to cover current laws but also with an eye toward state laws such as California’s.

Heureka provides a flexible platform to help organizations search, locate, report and remediate unstructured data. There are three specific areas where Heureka provides value:

  1. Heureka helps identify consumer data in unstructured data, regardless of where it is stored.
  2. Heureka provides reports on location and type of stored or collected data.
  3. Heureka provides a single tool to help remediate files (request to delete) on desktops, laptops or file shares.

Are you ready for a Federal Data Privacy Law?

To see how simple it can be to manage your data privacy, schedule a demo.