Landmark Data Privacy Bill Passes House Commerce Panel

Capitol Hill
(Image credit: Gary Arlen)

The House Energy & Commerce Committee has approved a comprehensive data privacy protection regime that would limit targeted online advertising and ban it for youth.

The vote on the legislation, which followed a lengthy markup in the committee Wednesday (July 20), was 53-2.

The bipartisan American Data Privacy and Protection Act (H.R. 8152) is a comprehensive national privacy regime that would require companies to collect only the data necessary to provide their products or services, bill advocate Common Cause has said, and would allow consumers to correct or delete their data. There are also prohibitions on discriminatory data practices, algorithms and ad delivery.

The bill would require consumers to get a clear and conspicuous opportunity to opt out of targeted advertising, And if a consumer is younger than 17 and an advertiser knows this, they cannot be targeted with advertising at all.

The bill also creates a Youth Privacy and Marketing Division within the Federal Trade Commission charged with protecting the privacy of children and minors and with looking out for marketing directed at kids. The division will have to report to Congress annually on how successful it has been in its mission and on any emerging concerns about protecting the privacy of children and minors.

House E&C chair Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) pointed out that there is strong support for the bill in the Senate as well, so he appeared confident that the bill would pass both chambers and make it to President Joe Biden’s desk. ▪️

“USTelecom commends the House Energy & Commerce Committee for taking an important step toward a national privacy framework," said SVP, government affairs, Brandon Heiner. "While there is more to be done, we look forward to continuing to work with Congress to ensure any privacy law provides all of America’s broadband customers the protection they deserve.”

The Interactive Advertising Bureau, which says it cannot support the bill, warned that the legislation will create a less friendly online environment not just for advertisers and small businesses but for the average online user whose speed and convenience of online experience depend on data.

"By some estimates, the proposed legislation is more punitive than EU regulations, which harm investments," said Lartease Tiffith, EVP of public policy for IAB. "In an effort to ‘rein in Big Tech,’ Congress is stumbling down the same path, despite the consequences to small businesses and a vital industry."▪️

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.