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On March 1, 2023, the U.S. House of Representatives Innovation, Data and Commerce Subcommittee (“Subcommittee”) of the Energy and Commerce Committee (“Committee”) held a hearing to restart the discussion on comprehensive federal privacy legislation. Last year, the full Committee reached bipartisan consensus on H.R. 8152, the American Data Privacy and Protection Act (“ADPPA”), by a vote of 53-2.  With many of the same players returning in the 118th Congress, House members are eager to advance bipartisan legislation again.

Subcommittee Chair Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Ranking Member Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) expressed the need for privacy legislation to cross the finish line in the present Congress. Although the ADPPA (or a bill based on it) has yet to be reintroduced, Subcommittee members agreed on the need for a comprehensive federal law; they differed, however, on its scope and breadth. Members on both sides of the aisle conceded that the ADPPA could be improved and asked questions on issues ranging from artificial intelligence to targeted advertising and enforcement.

The three witnesses who appeared at the hearing—Alexandra Reeve Givens, President and CEO, Center for Democracy & Technology; Graham Mudd, Founder and Chief Product Officer, Anonym; and Jessica Rich, Of Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor for Consumer Protection, Kelley Drye & Warren—likewise agreed on the need for a federal law. All commended members of Congress for their work that led to Committee approval of the ADPPA last year, and all were generally in favor of using the ADPPA as a starting point for this year’s proposal.

The Centre for Information Policy Leadership at Hunton Andrews Kurth has published an op-ed urging Congress to pass a federal privacy law that prioritizes organizational accountability.

Statements from Subcommittee members and witnesses, as well as a recording of the hearing, are available on the Committee website.