During testimony at a hearing by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, the retail giant said customers should be able to “reasonably access, correct or delete their data while limiting the sale of their data to third parties and its use in digital advertising.” With that in mind, the company said it supports a comprehensive federal privacy law and will comply with the new privacy rules that will go into effect in California on Jan. 1.
But Nuala O’Connor, senior vice president and chief counsel of Digital Citizenship at Walmart, warned lawmakers that since privacy legislation is primarily focused on the U.S. tech sector, laws must be carefully created that don’t harm the retail industry.
Walmart also revealed that it collects a variety of customer data, including personal information provided by consumers, personal information provided by third parties, purchase history, healthcare data, browsing information, device information and location data. In addition, it sells or rents individually identifiable customer data to third parties for business activities, and some of its recent acquisitions also share customer information with other companies.
There were many companies in attendance at the hearing, including Microsoft, which last month promised to follow California’s privacy law throughout the United States.
“Our approach to privacy starts with the belief that privacy is a fundamental human right and includes our commitment to provide robust protection for every individual,” Julie Brill, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for Global Privacy and Regulatory Affairs and chief privacy officer, wrote in a blog post. “This is why, in 2018, we were the first company to voluntarily extend the core data privacy rights included in the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to customers around the world, not just to those in the EU who are covered by the regulation. Similarly, we will extend CCPA’s core rights for people to control their data to all our customers in the U.S.”