February 25, 2019

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TechNet Unveils Federal Privacy Legislation Principles as Part of Comprehensive 2019 Pro-Growth Innovation Agenda

Washington, D.C. — TechNet, the national, bipartisan network of innovation economy CEOs and senior executives, today released its federal policy agenda for 2019, which includes principles to guide Congress as it works to develop federal privacy legislation this year.

If there is one thing that should unite federal policymakers in both parties, it is the goal of making the U.S. the global leader in innovation and ensuring that American workers and families benefit from all the economic opportunities and societal benefits this creates,” said TechNet President and CEO Linda Moore.  “Whether it is advancing strong new trade deals, equipping our students and workers with the knowledge and skills to succeed, or reforming our immigration system, TechNet looks forward to continuing our work with Congress and the Trump Administration to advance our pro-growth innovation agenda in 2019.

“With the House and Senate holding their first privacy hearings of the year this week and 16 states already considering their own privacy legislation, we encourage federal lawmakers to come together in a bipartisan manner to adopt a national privacy framework that makes clear that protecting consumers, keeping their trust, and having a thriving digital economy are not mutually exclusive goals and can all be achieved.”

TechNet’s federal privacy principles can be read in their entirety here and are focused on the following key objectives:

  • Congress Should Act: Federal legislation is needed to provide uniformity and standards throughout the U.S. when it comes to protecting consumer privacy and providing regulatory certainty for businesses.  Federal legislation should be tech and sector-neutral and consider national and international frameworks, with a focus on interoperability.
  • Keep the Consumer First: Companies should proactively take steps to enhance portability of consumers’ personal data while enabling consumers to correct and delete their data, as appropriate.
  • Companies Must Proactively Promote Transparency and Security: Keeping individuals’ data safe and secure — and being transparent with consumers about its collection and use — must be a top priority of any organization.
  • Uniform Laws and Regulations Will Enhance Compliance, Promote Even-Handed Enforcement, and Promote Innovation: Because technology and security threats to consumer privacy evolve constantly, legislation should recognize that security requirements should be risk-based, technology neutral, and flexible.  Private rights of action should be avoided.
  • Preserve the Role of State Attorneys General: Congress should preserve the ability of state attorneys general to protect their constituents and enforce the law based on the same unified national standard.
  • Avoid a 50-State Patchwork: The internet’s borderless nature makes a patchwork of state privacy laws untenable for both consumers and the digital economy; therefore, a federal framework that preempts state laws is essential.
  • Ensure Startups and Small Businesses Are Not Crushed By Burdensome Regulations: Congress should set baseline requirements but provide flexibility in how to meet those requirements, taking care to avoid prescriptive programmatic requirements and consider the unique needs and resource constraints of small and medium-sized enterprises and new market entrants.  The complexity of privacy requirements should not effectively become a barrier to entry for new potential innovators.
  • Empower the Federal Trade Commission (FTC): Congress should ensure that the FTC has the resources it needs to effectively enforce privacy laws and data security rules that protect consumers from tangible privacy harms.
  • The U.S. Should Lead Globally: As the home of the world’s preeminent tech sector, the U.S. must proactively demonstrate global leadership by leading multi-stakeholder discussions and trade negotiations with the goal of setting global standards, rules, frameworks, and norms that adequately promote data-driven innovation and safeguarding consumers’ privacy.

In addition to privacy, TechNet’s pro-growth innovation agenda for the year includes the following:

  • Passing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) in Congress.
  • Addressing concerns about China’s trade practices while ending the ongoing tariff war that is negatively impacting American businesses and consumers.
  • Equipping American workers and students with the skills, training, and education they need to succeed, with policies that include $250 million for computer science education programs across the country and reauthorizing the Higher Education Act.
  • Enacting a permanent legislative solution for the Dreamers and reforming the high-skilled immigration system to prioritize entrepreneurs, promote fairness, encourage assimilation, and allow employers to meet critical labor needs that American workers are not filling.
  • Ensuring that opportunities in the gig and sharing (or “on demand”) economy continue expanding to every corner of the country, allowing people to work independently and on flexible schedules, use their personal property to generate income, help them expand their businesses, and provide for themselves and their families.
  • Smart infrastructure policies that promote greater connectivity and enhanced cybersecurity.
  • Adopting pro-startup policies that make it easier for entrepreneurs to secure capital for growth and take their companies public.
  • Supporting innovation in the growing fintech sector.
  • Embracing artificial intelligence as a transformational force for good that can revolutionize the way we live and work, while ensuring its responsible development and implementation.
  • Continuing the federal government’s efforts to modernize its IT systems with more secure technologies, including annual funding to fully implement the Modernizing Government Technology Act.
  • Rejecting international efforts to impose special taxes on digital businesses.

About TechNet
TechNet is the national, bipartisan network of technology CEOs and senior executives that promotes the growth of the innovation economy by advocating a targeted policy agenda at the federal and 50-state level.  TechNet’s diverse membership includes dynamic American businesses ranging from startups to the most iconic companies on the planet and represents over three million employees and countless customers in the fields of information technology, e-commerce, the sharing and gig economies, advanced energy, cybersecurity, venture capital, and finance.  TechNet has offices in Albany, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Olympia, Sacramento, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Tallahassee, and Washington, D.C.

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