Tech Trade Group Pushes National, Not State Data Privacy Laws

Dean Garfield of the Information Technology Industry Council a trade group that represents Google, Microsoft and other tech companies  is calling for faster development of national privacy norms to avoid opposing state rules.

Garfield’s comments come after California passed one of the strictest laws regarding digital privacy, with consumers now having the right to know what information companies are collecting, why they are doing so and with whom who they are sharing. In addition, customers can tell companies to get rid of information on them and to not share their data with third parties, and businesses are required to provide the same level of service to them. Companies will also have a tougher time sharing and/or selling data on children under the age of 16.

While the California bill faced no opposition, the legislation has alarmed some of the lobbying group’s members as a potential template for other state or national legislation.

“You don’t want fragmentations among states,” Garfield said on the government’s role in artificial intelligence (AI) at a Washington event, according to Bloomberg. “What I would suggest is moving quicker and trying to come up with certain standards and norms that are broadly applicable.”

Though industries are typically anti-regulation, they prefer a single federal approach to divergent state rules. With that in mind, Garfield noted that his group was scheduled to meet with the Commerce Department about a “paradigm around data and data privacy.”

Representative John Delaney (D-Maryland), who also spoke at the event, said “a bunch of citizens” will continue to push for state regulation.

“Inevitably, what will happen is there’ll kind of be a patchwork of state regulations,” said Delaney, who co-chairs a lawmaker group interested in AI. “Then it feels to me like there’s going to be a role for the federal government to try to synchronize these things.”