Many companies hope to benefit from amassing large amounts of data by mining it for market insights, creating internal business models, and supporting strategic, data-driven decisions. But as companies collect and store increasingly enormous volumes of data, they may unknowingly take on significant legal risks, including potential violations of data privacy laws and increased exposure to U.S. litigation discovery obligations. One way that businesses can mitigate these risks is to de-identify the data they collect and store.
On December 4, 2019, the Senate Commerce Committee addressed data privacy in a hearing titled, “Examining Legislative Proposals to Protect Consumer Data Privacy.” The hearing focused on the two leading privacy proposals that were put forward in the week leading up to the hearing, the Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act (COPRA), introduced by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., ranking member on the Committee, and a Staff Discussion Draft of the United States Consumer Data Privacy Act of 2019 (CDPA), introduced by Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Chairman of the Committee. The competing proposals share many similarities, including their scope of covered data and entities, as well as their approaches to consumer transparency and access. However, as witness testimony during the hearing revealed, the proposals diverge on a few critical issues.