The Game is Rigged: Congress Invites No Consumer Privacy Advocates to its Consumer Privacy Hearing

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Photo: EFF

The Senate Commerce Committee is getting ready to host a much-anticipated hearing on consumer privacy—and consumer privacy groups don’t get a seat at the table. Instead, the Committee is seeking only the testimony of big tech and Internet access corporations: Amazon, Apple, AT&T, Charter Communications, Google, and Twitter. Some of these companies have spent heavily to oppose consumer privacy legislation and have never supported consumer privacy laws. They know policymakers are considering new privacy protections, and are likely to view this hearing as a chance to encourage Congress to adopt the weakest privacy protections possible—and eviscerate stronger state protections at the same time.

It is no coincidence that, in the past week, two leading industry groups (the Chamber of Commerce and the Internet Association) have called for federal preemption of state data privacy laws in exchange for weaker federal protections. For example, laws in California and Illinois require companies to have user consent to certain uses of their personal information (Nevada and Minnesota have these requirements for Internet access providers), while the industry proposals would only require transparency. That means that companies would be allowed to collect information without your permission as long as they tell you they’re doing it. The upcoming hearing at the Senate Commerce Committee may be the launch pad for this strategy of undoing stronger state laws.

Since we can’t be there to say this ourselves, we’ll say it here: EFF will oppose any federal legislation that weakens today’s hard-fought privacy protections or destroys the states’ ability to protect their citizens’ personal information. EFF has had a long and continuous battle with some of the testifying companies, such as Google and AT&T, regarding your right to data privacy, and we’re not going to give up now.

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Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation | The Game is Rigged: Congress Invites No Consumer Privacy Advocates to its Consumer Privacy Hearing


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