Chief executive officers of 51 businesses, including AT&T, Amazon, Comcast and the Interpublic Group, are calling for Congress to pass a federal privacy law that would preempt state laws, including new measures in California.
“Consumers should not and cannot be expected to understand rules that may change depending upon the state in which they reside, the state in which they are accessing the internet, and the state in which the company’s operation is providing those resources or services,” the CEOs say in a letter sent Tuesday to leaders of the House and Senate. “Now is the time for Congress to act and ensure that consumers are not faced with confusion about their rights and protections based on a patchwork of inconsistent state laws.”
The company executives say they are supporting an approach outlined last year by the Business Roundtable, an organization representing more than 200 CEOs. That group's approach would give consumers the right to wield some control over “personal data,” but defines that term as “data that is held by the organization and identifies or is identifiable to a natural, individual person.”
California's privacy law, slated to take effect next year, allows consumers to learn what personal information has been collected about them by companies, have that information deleted, and prevent the sale of that data. That bill's relatively broad definition of “personal information” includes data that could potentially be linked to individuals -- such as cookies, persistent identifiers, browsing history and IP addresses.
A new law in Maine, also set to take effect next year, requires internet service providers to obtain consumers' opt-in consent before drawing on their web activity for ad targeting.