February 2022 | Vol. 27 No. 2
by Peter Ferrell, Manager, Connectivity and Data Policy
As states gear up for another active year to push various data privacy laws, NEMA believes that Congress needs to step up and establish ground rules.
The year might still be young, but the window of opportunity for Congressional action in 2022 on significant issues is closing fast, particularly with a mid-term election inching closer each day. Action will include debate and consideration of a comprehensive national data privacy law. And while momentum has been steadily growing across the ideological spectrum for more rules and regulations around data privacy, much of the attention has come from certain industries and privacy rights groups and not from a broad coalition of business voices. Meanwhile, state legislatures fill the policymaking void, furthering a patchwork of conflicting directives.
The United States is one of the few developed countries not to have a national, comprehensive data privacy regime; instead, individual states, including California, Virginia, and Colorado, have adopted their own rules. In 2022, more than a dozen states have introduced legislation to regulate data privacy in some way, through granting consumers various rights over their personal data, limiting what companies can do with data they collect, to defining what authority is charged with enforcement. The continued enactment of state laws that regulate data in unharmonized ways will amplify confusion in the marketplace, stifle innovation, and increase liability. Companies will struggle to comply across multiple jurisdictions.
For these reasons, NEMA is #UnitedForPrivacy. Recently, the electroindustry joined a dozen national industry associations in an awareness campaign urging Congress to establish national rules and authorities governing data privacy. Lawmakers need to realize that as our economy continues to be more interconnected and digitized, data usage standardization is necessary and required; the legal definitions and related rights should not change simply because one crosses a state border. Learn more about the #UnitedForPrivacy campaign here.
To effectively meet the demand for greener, smarter, and more efficient technologies created for policymakers and consumers alike, electrical equipment manufacturers need Congress to establish a comprehensive and pre-emptive data privacy standard. And soon! ei