data protection

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On September 14, 2021, the United States (US) House Committee on Energy and Commerce, whose main responsibility is legislative oversight relating to  telecommunications, consumer protection and interstate and foreign commerce, approved the creation of a federal privacy bureau, granting a one billion dollar budget to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

With this budget, the FTC is tasked with creating the Privacy Bureau, which must fulfill the FTC’s duties related to unfair or deceptive acts or practices relating to privacy, data security, identity theft, data abuses (indiscriminate use) and related matters. So, a new bureau is added to the three that already make up the FTC (Competition, Consumer Protection, and Economics). See the Committee on Energy and Commerce’s proposal, including the fund allocation, here.

This is a significant step, considering that the US does not have a reference data protection body yet, while in the EU there is a national data protection authority in each Member State, plus the European Data Protection Board.

Also, note that, in contrast with the EU (where the General Data Protection Regulation is a generally applicable provision), the US so far lacks a federal piece of legislation providing general protection to users’ data and privacy. However, there are many federal sector-specific provisions, including the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act), the COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule) or the VPPA (Video Privacy Protection Act), designed for regulating very specific kinds of data in certain contexts.

We will see whether establishing this new bureau encourages the harmonization of the various rules and the creation of a general regulation providing a reference data protection framework.

Author: Ivette Pardo

This post is also available in: Español

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ivette.pardo@cuatrecasas.com