Wicker Underscores Need for Unified Approach to Privacy Framework

Patchwork of Regulations Would Create ‘Uncertainty and Lack of Clarity’ for Consumers

October 10, 2018

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today attended a hearing to consider the lessons learned from the implementation of the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act.

Wicker asked Dr. Andrea Jelinek, Chair of the European Data Protection Board, to discuss why the EU proceeded with a unified data protection plan, as opposed to individual member states creating their own privacy frameworks.

“The EU considered that it would be much better to have one applicable law for the whole continent – the whole EU,” Jelinek said.

Nuala O’Connor, President and CEO of the Center for Democracy & Technology, reaffirmed Dr. Jelinek’s comment, indicating that the EU’s strong protection framework has established European leadership in data protection and that other countries and regions have been following their model. O’Connor told Wicker that she would like to see more U.S. leadership on consumer data protection from Congress.

“I’d like to see the United States offer an alternative [to the GDPR] that has strong baseline protections,” O’Connor said.

O’Connor also repeated concerns offered by witnesses at last month’s consumer data protection hearing that a patchwork of privacy laws in the United States could create what she said was “uncertainty and a lack of clarity” for consumers.

“I think it’s better for American consumers to know what the rules are no matter what company they are dealing with or whatever state that company is based in,” O Connor said.