EPIC to Senate Commerce: the U.S. Needs a Data Protection Agency

September 22, 2020

In a statement to the Senate Commerce Committee before a hearing on the need for federal privacy legislation, EPIC urged lawmakers to establish an independent U.S. Data Protection Agency. EPIC laid out the FTC's typical privacy playbook: consent decrees, infrequent penalties, and no meaningful changes in business practices. "The FTC does not have the motivation or the tools necessary to enforce meaningful privacy and data protection rights in 2020," EPIC said, pointing to settlements the FTC had reached with Facebook, Google, YouTube, Uber, and Equifax. EPIC also noted the FTC's failure to use its existing authority to regulate privacy, including its rulemaking authority under Section 5 to establish stronger data security standards. "If the FTC fails to use these authorities, then the Commission is not capable of protecting Americans’ privacy, and the Commission should no longer be trusted to do so," EPIC stated. EPIC urged the Committee to hold a hearing on and give a favorable report to S. 3300, the Data Protection Act filed by Senator Gillibrand, which creates an independent U.S. Data Protection Agency.

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