In an effort to institute a comprehensive framework regulating the use of citizen’s data, representative Cathy McMorris and senator Maria Cantwell introduced the American Privacy Rights Act on April 8.

Regulatory partner and Pillsbury's Global Consumer Protection team leader Jeewon Serrato, who joined Pillsbury in March 2024, told Commercial Dispute Resolution that, “the current patchwork [of state and local rules] is not beneficial for the consumers because companies will often have several notices, each drafted to comply with a different law.”

“This proliferation of notice requirements is also resulting in a serious debate around whether there is ‘notice fatigue’ and the limitations on how ‘informed’ a consumer really can be when faced with 20 plus pages of privacy policy language with several subsections and cross-references to other documents,” she added.

The bill’s introduction follows a decades-long effort, which started when the Federal Trade Commission pushed Congress to address online data collection concerns.

“Largely underreported so far is the dramatic expansion of the term ‘sensitive covered data.’ The law not only incorporates some of the widest definitions of personal/sensitive data used in state privacy laws—it creates expectations of privacy around [different aspects],” said Government Law & Strategies partner Brian Finch, who is the co-leader of Pillsbury’s Cybersecurity, Data Protection & Privacy practice.

“That is an extraordinary expansion of what’s considered ‘private,’ and I have to imagine that will become the subject of vigorous debate, especially considering that the bill will allow for the feds, state governments and even individuals the right to sue over breaches of such information,” he said.

Finch said the new law “will significantly expand the authority as well as the size of the Federal Trade Commission” and that “significantly expanding the authority and size of a federal agency will inevitably [cause] dramatic growing pains.”

“Agency funding will be far more scrutinized, guidance, best practices, and mandatory requirements issued by the FTC will be hotly contested, and regulatory enforcement priorities will become yet another hotly contested DC battleground subject to withering partisan fire from all sides,” he concluded.

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