Data protection rules must apply to all business areas

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The Main Street Privacy Coalition (MSPC), of which NACS is a founding member, has submitted comments to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on its proposed Trade Regulation Rule on Commercial Surveillance and Data Security. The coalition includes the businesses that line America’s shopping streets, including convenience stores, gas stations, grocery stores, hotels and construction companies, among many others.

According to the MSPC, one privacy challenge is the overwhelming focus on technology companies’ data practices, and the coalition believes privacy law needs to work for Main Street.

“Having privacy and security policies that create clear safeguards for Americans and allow our members’ businesses to serve their customers in the ways they rely on is a primary goal. Achieving this goal, however, has been elusive,” MSPC wrote. “One of the key challenges of this effort is that the overwhelming focus of many participants in public privacy debates on the data practices of technology companies should not obscure the need for privacy and security regulations to work for Main Street.”

In July, the House Energy and Commerce Committee introduced a sweeping privacy bill that seeks to set a national standard for how businesses, particularly tech companies, collect and use information from Americans.

In response, MSPC sent a letter to the committee chairs thanking the committee for making changes to the bill that will ensure loyalty programs so popular with American consumers are protected, and a bipartisan amendment to ensure that service providers adequately protect consumer privacy.

However, the coalition noted that there are other concerns that have not been addressed, saying current US privacy law is not yet in a form that Main Street can work with.

“Main Street businesses — many of which have struggled to stay open to serve consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic and are now facing historic stresses from the confluence of inflation, supply chain constraints and labor shortages — will take full advantage Compliance is borne by the regulatory obligations under the ADPPA, which the committee is considering, and are not exempted from its provisions,” the coalition wrote in the letter.

In June, NACS General Counsel Doug Kantor testified on behalf of MSPC during a House Committee on Energy & Commerce hearing on strengthening privacy and security.

“Having privacy and security laws that create clear safeguards for Americans and allow our members’ businesses to serve their customers in the ways they rely on is a primary goal. Achieving that goal, however, was difficult to achieve,” Kantor said in his testimony before the committee.

Kantor also said that one of the key challenges in this effort is the overwhelming focus on the data practices of technology companies.

“Just to ensure that the business runs as intended on a day-to-day basis, large amounts of data have to be used and exchanged by a large number of different actors. The ways in which this is done is incredibly diverse throughout the economy and therefore quite complex. This diversity and complexity is one of the reasons why writing privacy laws is so difficult,” Kantor said.

Here is Kantor’s full testimony.

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