In brief: Is the US ready for European-style data protection regulations? Senators Blumenthal and Moran think so. The bipartisan legislators are reaching across the aisle to draft a bill modeled after Europe’s GDPR, which took effect last May. They expect to have it drafted “early in the  session.”
Ever since the European Union enacted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), there have been murmurs of a possible United States version of the privacy rules. Just last month Apple CEO Tim Cook called for similar legislation in the US because he believes personal data is being “weaponized.”
Reuters notes that Senators Richard Blumenthal (D) and Jerry Moran (R) are working on a bipartisan bill that would provide many of the same protections offered by the GDPR. The congressmen are hoping to have the bill drafted soon, and it may be voted on by early 2019.
On Tuesday the Congressional subcommittee on Consumer protection, product safety, insurance, and data security met to discuss the specifics of the proposed legislation. They reportedly did not reach a consensus on the language of the bill but suggested that the FTC could provide oversight and enforce penalties against companies that misuse or fail to protect consumer data.
Aside from Cook’s advocacy for such regulation, the recent privacy debacles in the industry including the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the Equifax breech have undoubtedly contributed to the perceived need for regulatory reform. California already passed stricter regulations over personal data back in June. The proposed bill will bring similar data protections to the federal level.
It will be interesting to see if companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and others, which rely heavily on data collection, rally lobbyists against the bill.