ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The Main Street Privacy Coalition (MSPC), of which NACS is a founding member, has sent comments to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on its proposed “Trade Regulation Rule on Commercial Surveillance and Data Security”. The Coalition includes the businesses that line America’s business thoroughfares, including convenience stores, gas stations, grocery stores, hotels, and home builders, among many others.
According to MSPC, one challenge in data privacy is the overwhelming focus on the data practices of technology companies, and the coalition believes privacy law needs to work for Main Street.
“Having data privacy and security regulation that create clear protections for Americans while allowing our members’ businesses to serve their customers in the ways they have come to rely upon is a key goal. Achieving that goal, however, has been elusive,” wrote MSPC. “One of the challenges that has been central to this effort is that the overwhelming focus on the data practices of technology companies by many participants in public debates about privacy should not blind us to the fact that privacy and security regulation needs to work for Main Street.”
In July, the House Energy and Commerce Committee advanced a comprehensive data-privacy bill that attempts to set a national standard for how businesses, particularly tech companies, collect and use Americans’ data.
In response, MSPC sent a letter to the committee leaders thanking the committee for including changes made to the bill that ensure customer loyalty programs so popular with American consumers are protected, as well as a bipartisan amendment to ensure service providers appropriately protect consumer privacy under the bill.
However, the coalition noted that there are other issues of concern that have not been addressed and said that the current American Data Privacy and Protection Act is not yet in a workable form for Main Street.
“Main Street businesses—many of whom have struggled to remain open to serve consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic and are now facing historic pressures from the confluence of inflation, supply chain constraints, and labor shortages—will bear the full burden of complying with the regulatory obligations under the ADPPA that the committee is considering and are not exempt from its provisions,” wrote the coalition in the letter.
In June, NACS General Counsel Doug Kantor testified on behalf of MSPC during a House Committee on Energy & Commerce hearing on strengthening data privacy and security.
“Having data privacy and security laws that create clear protections for Americans while allowing our members’ businesses to serve their customers in the ways they have come to rely upon is a key goal. Achieving that goal, however, has been elusive,” said Kantor in his testimony before the committee.
Kantor also said that one of the challenges that has been central to this effort is the overwhelming focus on the data practices of technology companies.
“Simply to ensure that business occurs as intended on a daily basis requires large volumes of data to be used and exchanged by a multiplicity of different actors. The ways in which this happens are incredibly diverse across the economy and therefore quite complex. That diversity and complexity is one of the reasons that writing legislation to cover privacy is so challenging,” said Kantor.
Here is Kantor’s full testimony.