Bipartisan Senate Quartet in Talks on Data Privacy Bill

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By Daniel R. Stoller

A bipartisan group of four Senate Commerce Committee members are said to be discussing a potential online privacy bill that may rival a proposal being developed by committee chairman John Thune.

Republican Sens. Jerry Moran (Kan.) and Roger Wicker (Miss.) are in talks with Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Senate aides told Bloomberg Law on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter.

It’s unclear what potential language the other four lawmakers are discussing. They are said to be open to working with Thune (R-S.D.) on a consensus measure, according to the aides.

Thune told reporters Aug. 23 that he may hold a committee hearing about online privacy in September and may release an online privacy proposal after that.

Congressional interest in a broad online privacy bill has grown in recent months, amid a series of high-profile data scandals and other developments.

The European Union May 25 implemented its General Data Protection Regulation, offering citizens of nations in the 28-member bloc a range of new privacy protections that U.S. multinational companies must observe. California in late June enacted a privacy law that ushered in an array of new consumer rights in protecting and deleting personal information.

The Trump administration is working on an online privacy proposal to send to Congress, through the National Economic Council and the Commerce Department.

Spokespeople for Blumenthal, Moran, Schatz, and Wicker didn’t immediately respond to Bloomberg Law’s email request for comments.

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