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The State of Consumer Data Privacy Laws in the US (And why it matters)

In recent years, there has been a deluge of news stories about data breaches and the misuse of personal information. This has led to a growing awareness of data privacy among consumers as well as a demand for stricter regulations.

Additionally, with the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe, data privacy has become a more pressing issue worldwide. While many are still coming to terms with how these changes will impact them, others recognise that there is a shifting towards an era where data privacy is no longer optional.

Data Privacy Laws in the USA

Data security rules are essential for protecting your information. Federal data privacy rules in the U.S. fall short of the European Union's data protection initiatives, but local states are increasingly stepping up to fulfil their residents' privacy concerns.

The state of consumer data privacy laws in the US varies from state to state, with California leading the charge. While some states have enacted stricter data privacy laws, others have yet to follow suit.

There are several key data privacy laws in the USA, including the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Businesses must comply with all relevant laws when handling personal data.

Data privacy laws in the US are constantly evolving, and companies must regularly review their policies and procedures to ensure compliance. Significant fines and penalties can be imposed for violating data privacy regulations.

On July 20, 2022, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the proposed American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA) by a 53-2 margin. The bill would create national standards and safeguards for personal information collected by companies, including protections intended to address potentially discriminatory impacts of algorithms.

  • COPPA- the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA), places restrictions on how much information businesses may gather about children under the age of 13 in their databases.

  • The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA)- requires providers of consumer financial services, such as loan services or investment advisory services, to disclose how they share data.

As long as they acknowledge such use in advance, the legislation does not impose restrictions on how businesses use the data they acquire.

  • CCPA- the CCPA frequently draws parallels to the European GDPR, which is very commendable given the superior level of data protection provided to EU individuals.

The right of individuals to access all information a firm has on them and the right to be forgotten, or the ability to have your personal information erased, are two examples of these connections.

The CCPA and GDPR do have certain similarities, though, most notably in how broadly they both define "personal data."

Why does it matter?

Most customers are unaware of the data economy that underlies everyday products and services. Your data is shared with a greater number of third parties, which not only increases the number of companies that can monetize it, but also increases the chances of your data being compromised or leaked in a way that leads to real harm.

Data privacy has always been important, but in recent years, it has become increasingly critical. We now live in a world where more and more of our daily activities are being recorded, saved, and analysed.

This could be your internet browsing history, your purchases, your social media posts, your voice commands, or any of countless other data points.

Moreover, cybercriminals are taking advantage of a lack of strict data privacy laws in the US to breach systems, steal information, and profit from it. This is likely to get worse in the near future as massive breaches become more common.

According to privacy experts, these are the four areas that deserve basic protection:

  1. Data collection and sharing rights: People should have the legal right to know what information different firms have about them, to ask the companies to remove whatever data they have, and to transfer data easily across services. Additionally, you have the right to request that businesses not disclose or sell your data to outside parties.

  2. Opt-in consent: A corporation must get your permission before sharing or selling your personal information to third parties.

  3. Data minimization: A firm should only gather the information required to deliver the service you're using.

  4. Non-discrimination and no data-use discrimination: A firm shouldn't treat people differently based on how they exercise their privacy rights; for instance, it can't charge someone more to preserve their privacy or give them discounts in exchange for providing more data.

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