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Hello all, and happy Thursday! 

Right on the heels of IAPP’s Global Privacy Summit, U.S. lawmakers gave the privacy community a major surprise in the form of a newly proposed federal data privacy law. 

The American Privacy Rights Act (APRA) derives a lot from its predecessor, the American Data Protection and Privacy Act (ADPPA). So much so, that the APRA may very well face the same challenges that eventually put a stop to the ADPPA.  

You can read a summary of the law’s major features on our site here

Nothing is certain at this point, and the APRA has a long road ahead of it before it becomes law—but if I were to hazard a guess, I would predict the APRA will undergo significant changes should it ultimately be enacted. As was the case with the ADPPA, preemption will be a major sticking point for representatives in states with stronger data privacy laws on the books, notably California. Will the APRA preempt the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA)?  

The Executive Director of the California Privacy Protection Agency (CPPA), Ashkan Soltani, certainly seems to feel the same way about the APRA’s preemption as he did about the ADPPA. According to the IAPP, Soltani said: 

Americans shouldn't have to settle for a federal privacy law that limits states' ability to advance strong protection in response to rapid changes in technology and emerging threats in policy—particularly when Californians' fundamental rights are at stake. Congress should set a floor, not a ceiling. 

California swings a lot of weight around in Congress, so it seems likely that the APRA will need to undergo changes that mollify Californian privacy stakeholders’ concerns. But as I’m sure many of you can attest to, compliance with the current patchwork of state laws is a confusing and difficult task. A single federal law would vastly simplify the work of data privacy compliance for U.S.-based companies.  

So, what’s better: Imperfect but comprehensive data privacy protection, or strong but inconsistent data privacy protection? We’ll have to see where California, Congress, and other state legislators stand on this question before we can predict the APRA’s future with any kind of accuracy. 



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