#privacy: Tech chiefs ask Congress to pass consumer privacy law

CEOs from Salesforce, IBM, Amazon and other major US multinationals have come together to urge lawmakers in North America to push forward with new privacy laws designed to shore up consumer privacy rights.

Bosses from 51 firms in total spoke at a business roundtable recently, where they signed a letter to US congressional leaders urging them to put together “a comprehensive consumer data privacy law”.

Representing a wide range of industries, the chiefs said that federal law is needed to “ensure strong consistent protections for American consumers” and to allow “American companies to continue to lead a globally competitive market.”

The letter was sent to leaders in the House Energy and Commerce and Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation committees, as well as to House and Senate leaders.

The letter said:

“As Chief Executive Officers of leading companies across industries, our companies reach virtually every American consumer and rely on data and digital platforms every day to deliver and improve our products and services. Consumer trust and confidence are essential to our businesses. We are committed to protecting consumer privacy and want consumers to have confidence that companies treat their personal information responsibly.”

The message arrives against a background of official scrutiny against big tech over its data processing practices and ethics regarding data privacy. Major fines have recently been issued to giants such as Google and Facebook by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) because of the firms’ violation of data protection standards.

Earlier in the week, 50 attorney generals announced a probe into Google’s advertising behaviours, which are built upon big data processing. Tech leaders hope that their current letter to US politicians will go some way to helping to form legislation that can help the industry thrive through fair regulation.

“We urgently need a comprehensive federal consumer data privacy law to strengthen consumer trust and establish a stable policy environment in which new services and technologies can flourish within a well-understood legal and regulatory framework. Innovation thrives under clearly defined and consistently applied rules,” the CEOs stated.

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