Consumer Watchdog Joins Coalition Opposing Data Security Bill That Would Weaken Consumer Protections

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SANTA MONICA, CA – Consumer Watchdog today joined a coalition of 17 consumer and privacy groups in opposing the Data Security Act of 2015 because the measure would “weaken consumer protections in a number of ways, and eliminate protections altogether for some categories of personal information.”

The bill, H.R. 2205, is scheduled be taken up Tuesday by the House Financial Services Committee.  In a letter addressed to Chairman Jeb Hensarling and Ranking Member Maxine Waters, the public interest groups said:

“Rather than replacing state laws with a weaker standard and preventing states from taking stronger measures, a federal bill should offer greater protections than exist under the law today.”

Read the 17 public interest groups’ letter here:

The groups said they “are pleased that many members in the House are committed to improving data security and breach notification protections,” but warned the bill as presented “would do consumers far more harm than good, and we therefore must urge you to oppose it.”

The public interest groups offered these objections to the bill, saying it:

— Would eliminate stronger existing state protections and prevent future state innovation.

— Would eliminate means of redress currently available to consumers in many states.

— Would eliminate critical flexibility to adapt data security and breach notification standards to address shifting threats.

— Would eliminate key protections under the Communications Act for telecommunications, cable, and satellite records.

— Would tie breach notification to a “harm trigger” that is much narrower than existing laws in the majority of states.

— Would not, contrary to its name, offer consumers meaningful new protections.

“Unless and until the House can improve this bill to offer consumers something new, rather than just retreading old ground and prohibiting states from acting to protect their citizens, we urge you to oppose the Data Security Act of 2015,” the letter concluded. “We look forward to working with you to address the issues we have raised.”

In addition to Consumer Watchdog the coalition of public interest groups opposing the Data Security Act are: Center for Democracy & Technology, Center for Digital Democracy, Center for Economic Justice, Common Sense Kids Action, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, National Association of Consumer Advocates, National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients), New America’s Open Technology Institute, National Consumers League, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, Public Citizen, Public Knowledge, U.S. PIRG and World Privacy Forum.

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John M. Simpson
John M. Simpson
John M. Simpson is an American consumer rights advocate and former journalist. Since 2005, he has worked for Consumer Watchdog, a nonpartisan nonprofit public interest group, as the lead researcher on Inside Google, the group's effort to educate the public about Google's dominance over the internet and the need for greater online privacy.

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