A group of 51 CEOs across industries from the Business Roundtable signed a letter sent to congressional leaders Tuesday urging the passing of a comprehensive consumer data privacy law.
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Walmart’s Doug McMillon, and Salesforce’s Keith Block were among those whose voices were represented by the letter, addressed to House and Senate leadership and the leaders of the House Energy and Commerce and Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation committees.
“There is now widespread agreement among companies across all sectors of the economy, policymakers, and consumer groups about the need for a comprehensive federal consumer data privacy law that provides strong, consistent protections for American consumers,” the letter reads.
“As Chief Executive Officers of leading companies across industries, our companies reach virtually every American consumer and rely on data and digital platforms every day to deliver and improve our products and services. Consumer trust and confidence are essential to our businesses. We are committed to protecting consumer privacy and want consumers to have confidence that companies treat their personal information responsibly.”
In December 2018, the Business Roundtable released its “Framework for Consumer Privacy Legislation.” The legislation lays out what the group believes a comprehensive federal consumer data privacy law should address. Four fundamental privacy rights for consumers comprise the proposal:
- The right to transparency regarding a company’s data practices, including the types of personal data that a company collects, the purposes for which this data is used, and whether and for what purposes personal data is shared;
- The right to exert control over their data, including the ability to control whether companies sell their personal data;
- The right to access and correct inaccuracies in their personal data; and
- The right to delete their personal data.
“We are also united in our belief that consumers should have meaningful rights over their personal information and that companies that access this information should be held consistently accountable under a comprehensive federal consumer data privacy law,” the CEOs state. “… 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.”
Absent from the letter is Apple CEO Tim Cook, who called on the United States to adopt data privacy legislation similar to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) last October. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also voiced his support for a U.S.-style GDPR, notable given the fines his company has received for privacy violations.
The first state data privacy law, the California Consumer Privacy Act, is set to take effect Jan. 1, 2020.