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Shifting differences among businesses on proposed federal data privacy bill

Shifting differences among businesses on proposed federal data privacy bill

In a quick two-step, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reportedly softened its approach to a federal data privacy bill after first considering a broadside attack last week.

Then, as if emphasizing the varying opinions on the topic among businesses, Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote to key lawmakers praising the American Data Privacy and Protection Act, according to AppleInsider.

The bipartisan data security act would create broad rules for the kind of personal data businesses could capture and how well that data would be protected. Biometric data, including personal photos and videos, would be protected, according to a deep analysis of the bill by ML Strategies, a government and policy consulting group.

It also would prohibit pay-for-privacy schemes that would disadvantage people of limited financial means.

Initially, it all proved too much for the Chamber of Commerce, according to online news publisher CNBC.com, which got a copy of a draft letter.

The legislation “as drafted is unworkable and should be rejected,” in the Chamber’s eyes, CNBC reports. That note was subsequently revised to say the data protection legislation is “unworkable at this time,” and the call for outright rejection was dropped.

That letter could be revised more before it is delivered to Congress.

As it stands, the business group objects to the overall “subjective” nature of the act, according to drafts CNBC has seen. It could make for litigation.

Indeed, the group is concerned about giving people the right to sue for damages, as the Congressional draft proposes.

Also of concern is how the bill allows Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act and data breach sections of California’s privacy law to pre-empt the federal legislation. Chamber members would prefer a single, federal standard without exceptions, according to CNBC.

Those concerns are related, as lawsuits over biometrics use have been legion in Illinois.

Apple’s Cook sees more agreement than differences in the privacy act, and it should move forward, according to AppleInsider.

In fact, he says the bill has his company’s “strong support.”

Cook anticipates that the law would have issues that need to be resolved, but as it stands, the bill “would provide substantial protections for consumers.”

On June 14, the House Energy & Commerce Committee is scheduled to hold a full committee hearing on the act, according to the National Law Review.

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