McMorris Rodgers on CNN: “We have a moment to act.”

The American Privacy Rights Act gives people fundamental, enforceable data privacy rights, puts people in control of their own data, and eliminates the patchwork of state laws

Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, joined CNN This Morning with Kasie Hunt to discuss the American Privacy Rights Act of 2024. The bipartisan, bicameral draft legislation will establish a national data privacy and security standard and give people the right to control their personal information online. Highlights and excerpts from the interview:


“This would really be historic. This is two decades in the making for us to establish a national privacy data security law protecting individuals’ personal data online. It is establishing privacy rights for individuals, and it helps all of us, but especially our children.

“It is different than what Europe put into place that has caused a lot of concerns among small businesses in particular. We believe, because of the work that we have done, it limits the amount of data that can be collected to begin with—data minimization. And then when your data is transferred, when it’s sold, you will be notified that your data is being used and you will have an option to opt-out of that.

“It really is establishing the privacy rights of an individual to know what’s being collected, how it is being used, if it’s being sold, if it’s being used in targeting advertising—you would have more rights over how your data is being used.”


“Well, [the bill] establishes a private right of action for the first time where an individual would be able to bring forward a lawsuit.


“We aren’t interested in targeting businesses that just somehow inadvertently are using data wrong. If you are not selling [people’s] data, you’re not covered at all. There’s a threshold for small businesses, and we want to make sure that we’re really going after the bad actors.


“[Big Tech] is collecting, right now, unlimited amounts of data. There is no limit on the amount of data being collected—sensitive data, tracking your location, your search history, biometric data.

“For the first time, there will be a limitation put on companies as to the collection of data, and then the individual has a right to know what’s being collected.

“They’re not going to be happy about that and how it curves the targeted advertising. You go online and search for a pair of running shoes and all sudden you’re flooded with all kinds of ads—you would be empowered for the first time to determine whether or not you want you want your data to be used like that.”


“We’ve had a number of years, a lot of members on both sides of the aisle, House and Senate, that have been working on establishing a privacy right, believing that it is important that individuals are protected online and that we have more control over the data that’s being collected.

“There’s been a lot of work done—years worth of work—and I’m really encouraged right now that Senator Cantwell, the Chair of the Commerce Committee in the Senate, and myself as the Chair of the House Committee have been able to hammer out a bill and reach an agreement.
“[For example] on preemption of the state laws, right now, there’s a patchwork of state laws that causes even more confusion. There’s been a lot of work done, and now we have a moment to act. This will be historic, and it’s really important for all Americans, but especially our kids.

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