Privacy Bill: Is Now FINALLY the Time?

Posted on by RSAC Editorial Team

Privacy is buzzing in terms of headlines right now. Not a surprise. Just drive down the 101 and you can see billboards of companies promoting some form of it from the South Bay all the way into the city. If you’ve attended any sessions centering around privacy at RSA Conference 2022, there’s a solid chance that the draft of the bipartisan bill on federal data privacy negotiations was mentioned.

The question wasn’t necessarily if but when the United States would follow Europe’s GDPR law and now it may finally feel like it’s going to happen. It's been a long and arduous decades-long stalemate in Congress to advance this overdue piece of legislation and in our Tuesday morning keynote: Privacy 2022: Perspectives from the Top, this very topic was featured front and center with the panel.

Panel moderator Dominique Shelton Leipzig (Partner, Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Leader, Global Data Innovation and Ad Tech Privacy & Data Management practices, Mayer Brown) led off that privacy has seemingly overnight moved from a legal issue to a business issue. The panelists, which consisted of Keith Enright (Chief Privacy Officer at Google), Jane Horvath (Chief Privacy Officer at Apple) and Kalinda Raina (Chief Privacy Officer at LinkedIn), all agreed.

“Developing a culture of privacy throughout a company or organization has been exciting to see,” said Raina. While the panel agreed that privacy legislation is certainly needed, it didn’t come without some warning flags for what might follow.

“There are several competition bills being considered in Congress right now that we should be gravely concerned with,” said Enright. “Some of them would require open sharing with third parties that might not make sense and could introduce new privacy and security risks. They could lead to legal issues by third parties down the road. We need to preserve flexibility, or it could lead to trouble.”

Other trends for laws being looked at in Congress include anti-trust, consumer protection and content – all potentially under the blanket of privacy. This comes on the heels of Europe potentially further advancing legislation through the Digital Markets Act.

“We are in desperate need of federal privacy legislation and many of us are a big proponent of it and optimistic for it,” said Enright. Horvath concurred but warned the proposed legislation that would loosen competition and security protocols for developers in the App Store could spell trouble for end users and leave them open to having their information compromised or stolen.

Will Congress get this moved to the finish line soon? It’s going to be tight. There isn’t much time left in the Congressional calendar as in August, Congress breaks for a recess and then heads directly into midterms. The clock is ticking.

RSAC Editorial Team

Editorial, RSA Conference

Privacy Law

GDPR security operations consumerization law governance risk & compliance

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