Big Public Support for National Privacy Rules

By at 15 May, 2019, 1:47 pm


By Karen Kerrigan

As states move to enact their own privacy laws and regulations, the stakes are getting higher for Congress to step up and advance one national framework for the entire country.  The small business community is very concerned about the prospect of having to comply with 50 different state laws, which would be a costly and complex mess for entrepreneurs and small firms. That is why SBE Council supports the development of one set of federal privacy rules that preempt state laws. It is one of our key policy priorities for 2019.

California enacted a complex and cumbersome state privacy law in October 2018, and twenty-six states (at last count) are looking to adopt their own privacy and data protection rules. This potential web of differing state-based regimes would prove to be a compliance nightmare for most small businesses.

Data currently flows seamlessly across state lines. Treating it differently in terms of state-specific rules for consumer privacy and data security would be unworkable for businesses of all kinds, particularly for small businesses. A national framework that provides one set of rules for privacy, data security, and breach notification is needed.

The growth of the digital economy and innovation across platforms and sectors offer all businesses, particularly small businesses, extraordinary opportunities.  A consistent set of privacy and data security rules is not only important for small business growth, it is critical for consumer confidence in utilizing digital platforms and devices.

A recent survey conducted by Morning Consult and Verizon demonstrates how important a national framework is for American consumers. The survey found that 83 percent of Americans support a new national law to protect consumer privacy. In addition, Americans strongly believe (73 percent) that data privacy rules should be consistent in every state. This makes sense, as consumers want to know that their data is being protected consistently, and they have the same rights and protections when a breach occurs.

SBE Council has hosted policy briefings on this important issue, and there have been several congressional hearings on Capitol Hill.  It is very important that the voice of entrepreneurs and small business is being heard, and that Congress work in a bipartisan and prompt manner before a complex state-by-state regime sets in. A complex and burdensome “every state” approach would hurt small business growth, innovation and the growth of the digital economy.

Consumers and small businesses want Washington to act when it comes to critical issues. It’s time that Congress focus on what Americans want, and a national law protecting their data and privacy is one of those top issues that will positively impact their lives.

Related content:

One Set of Privacy Rules for Everyone: Vital to the Growth of the Digital Economy and Small Businesses, Small Business Insider blog post, December 2018.

Karen Kerrigan is president & CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council  

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