U.S. Chamber Warns It Will Oppose Any Privacy Legislation That Creates a Blanket Private Right of Action

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley issued the following statement regarding federal privacy legislation: 

“A national data protection law including a private right of action would encourage an influx of abusive class action lawsuits, create further confusion regarding enforcement of blanket privacy rights, harm small businesses, and hinder data-driven innovation.

“More than 130 countries have enacted general privacy protections, and five state legislatures have passed comprehensive data protection bills. However, for good reason, private right of action for privacy is not included in any of these states laws, nor is it part of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce strongly urges Congress to pass durable, bipartisan national privacy legislation that protects all Americans equally. A national law should be enforced by the Federal Trade Commission with adequate funding and due process protections as well as state attorneys general. The Chamber, however, will strongly oppose legislation that fails to provide meaningful preemption or any proposal that creates a blanket private right of action.” 

The Chamber sent a letter the members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce outlining concerns with attempts to rush through legislation that would encourage an unmanageable patchwork of laws and abusive class action lawsuits through private rights of action.

A private right of action enables individuals to sue companies and other defendants directly for violations of a law, either for technical errors, damages or injunctions. Unfortunately, when parties are legally awarded attorneys fees in court cases, there is an incentive for plaintiffs’ attorneys to generate cases.