Is a federal US data protection regime closer than we thought? | Lexology

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Samantha Gilbert asks if growing calls for a consistent stance on how companies can compliantly use data for COVID-19 contract-tracing, targeted advertising and other issues have the collective momentum to push the US to implement a federal data privacy law.
The question of whether the US needs a federal data protection law is not new, but the COVID-19 pandemic, among other factors, has shifted the debate. Discussion over whether a unified response on data protection would clarify how citizens’ data can be used for COVID-19 contract tracing and to strengthen control over how tech giants use citizens’ data has increased support for a federal law among both citizens and businesses. “The current moment feels different as several trends are coalescing to change the privacy zeitgeist and give multiple constituencies reasons to support federal action,” says Alan Raul, leader of Sidley Austin’s privacy and cybersecurity group in Washington, DC.
Historically, the US has resisted implementing a federal law for data privacy, in favour of state-based and sector-specific legislation. Current sector-specific legislation in the US includes the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) (for health data), the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (regulating the protection of financial data), and the Family Educational Rights …

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