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Data Privacy: Urgent Need for Federal Legislation as ‘Patchwork’ Laws Raise Risks for Businesses and Consumers in U.S.

Loeb partner Jessica Lee, co-chair of the firm’s Privacy, Security & Data Innovations practice, spoke to the International Bar Association (IBA) in an article discussing how the lack of a national U.S. data privacy law has caused a gap compared to other countries around the globe, as an absence of federal legislation could “jeopardize U.S. competitiveness and its position as a world leader on data protection and privacy issues.”

In the article, Jessica, who serves as chair of the IBA Cybersecurity and Surveillance Committee, believes that there’s an urgent need for federal privacy legislation. “There is value in having a national standard for privacy,” she said. “Our patchwork approach to privacy leaves gaps in privacy obligations that could be addressed by a comprehensive federal privacy law. These gaps create uncertainty for businesses and leave consumers unprotected.”

With the absence of federal legislation, many states have made efforts to fill the gap by drafting their own privacy bills and laws. But Jessica said that the state-by-state approach so far has not been in the best interests of companies or consumers.

“Your right to privacy and access to privacy rights should not depend on the state that you’re located in,” she noted. “Leaving privacy to the states may result in different, varying definitions for personal information, different business obligations, and privacy rights that share common themes, but that differ across states. It’s inefficient and burdensome for businesses that will struggle to create a ‘one-size-fits-all approach’ and it creates confusion for consumers.”

Click here to read the full article on IBA’s website.