May 23, 2022
America’s broadband providers noted with interest and enthusiasm the Administration’s recent efforts toward harmonizing strong consumer privacy protections around the world. In advocating for the Global Cross-Border Privacy Rules Declaration last week, an Administration official rightly noted, “It’s becoming increasingly complex for businesses to comply with all these different [privacy] regulations,” and the creation of a global forum would “provide a sort of scalability, which is what regulators, governments and companies are hungry for.”
We wholeheartedly agree with these sentiments. However, for the U.S. to truly lead this worldwide endeavor, our nation must first lead by example here at home. We do so by enacting national legislation that delivers equal rights for all Americans when it comes to their online privacy.
It is a mark on U.S. global leadership that, in the year 2022, American consumers remain without clear national protections, codified into law, that set one high standard for consumer privacy in this country. In its absence, individual states are enacting their own regulatory frameworks. As these variants proliferate, they compound the problem of uneven, confusing and potentially conflicting rules—precisely the challenge the Administration is seeking to avert on the global stage.
We are heartened by recent comments from Congressional leaders of both parties indicating that national privacy legislation is a priority and active work is underway. We urge the Administration and Congress to work together, with a sense of urgency and purpose, to see this critical effort through in the current legislative session.
National privacy legislation should deliver consistent online privacy protections that apply uniformly across the country and to all companies in the internet ecosystem. These modern safeguards should ensure transparency in how data is collected and used, and require consumer consent before sharing sensitive personal information, such as data about children, health, finances and Social Security numbers.
The Administration is right to look beyond our borders with concern regarding conflicting privacy standards, rules and laws. But we cannot ignore the parallel challenge within our own borders.
Yes, “regulators, governments and companies are hungry for” clear and consistent privacy rules. Far more important, all Americans deserve these protections. Broadband companies stand ready to work with the Administration and Congress to deliver on this essential national priority.
 Shannon Coe, director of global data policy, U.S Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration, Washington Goes on the Global Data Privacy Offensive, Politico, May 6, 2022; available at https://www.politico.eu/article/washington-data-privacy-global-rules-restrictions/