CCAGW Urges Washington Senate Committee on Environment, Energy, and Technology to Oppose SB 5813 | Council For Citizens Against Government Waste

CCAGW Urges Washington Senate Committee on Environment, Energy, and Technology to Oppose SB 5813

State Action

January 19, 2022

Washington Senate Committee on Environment, Energy & Technology
Washington State Capitol
416 Sid Snyder Avenue SW
Olympia, WA 98504

Dear Senator,

On behalf of the ­49,792 members and supporters of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) in Washington, I urge you to vote against SB 5813, which would impose restrictions and penalties on violations stemming from data brokering of consumer information.

Unfortunately, this bill will fail to achieve its objective to protect consumer privacy.  Instead, it would create instability and uncertainty for companies doing business over the internet and their customers.  The internet is not contained within a single state’s boundaries and therefore participants operating within the internet ecosystem can only be regulated by the federal government under the Commerce Clause, Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.

On December 14, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission adopted the Restoring Internet Freedom Order (RIFO), which restored the internet’s proper classification as an information service, as intended in the 1996 Telecommunications Act.  It was under this light-touch regulation that the internet thrived and became one of the greatest economic and social innovations in history. 

The RIFO also reinstated the Federal Trade Commission’s authority to investigate privacy and consumer protection violations by internet service providers (ISP) and strengthened its enforcement capabilities by enhancing transparency requirements.  Any ISP infringing upon consumer privacy or engaging in otherwise unfair conduct can be held accountable for its actions. 

States have enacted or will be reviewing laws that would protect personal information, including online privacy for children, websites, and monitoring employee e-mail communications.  These laws would affect any business operating or selling to customers in each state, impinging on interstate commerce.  Without the adoption of a consistent national privacy protection regime that preempts state and local laws, more states will enact their own rules, which raises costs and complicates compliance for businesses and individuals. 

On November 3, 2021, Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-Wash.) and Republican Leader for Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) provided an outline and draft language for a national privacy framework that includes four basic principles:  1) the internet does not stop at state lines, so no single state should set standards for the entire country; 2) individuals must understand how their information is collected, used and shared, and companies that misuse personal information must be held accountable; 3) companies must adopt reasonable measures to protect that information; and 4) small businesses and innovation must be protected so that the U.S. does not suffer from any reduction in investment like the 40 percent drop that occurred in Europe following the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation.  

CCAGW urges you to oppose SB 5813 and encourages you instead to work with Rep. McMorris Rogers and her colleagues to pass a bipartisan national privacy law by the end of this year.

Sincerely,
Tom Schatz
President, CCAGW

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