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01Dec

New Study Shows Overwhelming Bipartisan Support for U.S. Federal Privacy Legislation

A recent study conducted by Insights Association member companies Research Narrative and InnovateMR, on behalf of Privacy for America, reveals that nearly all Americans surveyed (92 percent) believe it is important for Congress to pass new legislation to protect consumers’ personal data, and a majority (62 percent) favor federal regulation over individual state regulations. Four out of five voters (81%) support a national standard that outright prohibits harmful ways of collecting, using and sharing personal data.

The results demonstrate the urgent need for Congress to approve a comprehensive U.S. consumer privacy law along the lines of the model federal privacy framework the Insights Association helped develop with Privacy for America.

The Privacy for America study, conducted among 1,524 Americans across a demographically representative cross-section of U.S. registered voters (August 2-17, 2021) to better understand the impact and concerns regarding the current state of privacy in the U.S., such as:

  • Voters find common ground on privacy legislation: Virtually all Democrat (95.4 percent), Independent (92.0 percent) and Republican (89.3 percent) voters surveyed report that it is very or somewhat important for Congress to pass federal privacy legislation. In addition to widespread bipartisan support, there is near universal agreement across age, race and gender that passing new data privacy legislation is important.
  • Voters are also more motivated to protect themselves than punish companies: Voters favor regulation that protects their data from misuse or abuse (43 percent), but their support is driven by a desire for protection rather than to punish tech companies.
  • Privacy in the age of COVID is an urgent matter: For 40 percent of Americans, the desire for data privacy regulations is greater now than in the past. Leading concerns include cyber fraud and criminal activity (65 percent) and the security of digital financial activities such as online shopping, banking and bill paying (40 percent).

A significant majority of voters in the Privacy for America study reported it is either critical or important to:

  • Create a national standard for all companies to follow that outlines reasonable/legal and unreasonable/illegal ways to collect, use and share personal data (81 percent);
  • Give consumers more control over the data a company has about them, including the right to erase data, update or correct data, and the right to move data to another company (80 percent);
  • Require companies to invest in security measures to protect against hacks or breaches (79 percent); and
  • Increase fines for companies that fail to protect personal data (78 percent).

“These findings make clear that an overwhelming majority of Americans want Congress to pass nationwide privacy legislation that protects all Americans, no matter where they live,” said Stuart Ingis, advisor to the Privacy for America coalition. “In today’s highly polarized political climate, comprehensive privacy legislation is a rare bipartisan opportunity for Congress to deliver real protections for Americans and small businesses seeking to recover from the pandemic and protect the responsible use of data that drives our economy. We urge lawmakers from both parties to come together to make a national privacy law a reality in the United States.”

See further details from the study.

About the Author

Howard Fienberg

Howard Fienberg

Based in Washington, DC, Howard is the Insights Association's lobbyist for the marketing research and data analytics industry, focusing primarily on consumer privacy and data security, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), tort reform, and the funding and integrity of the decennial Census and the American Community Survey (ACS). Howard has more than two decades of public policy experience. Before the Insights Association, he worked in Congress as senior legislative staffer for then-Representatives Christopher Cox (CA-48) and Cliff Stearns (FL-06). He also served more than four years with a science policy think tank, working to improve the understanding of scientific and social research and methodology among journalists and policymakers. Howard is also co-director of The Census Project, a 900+ member coalition in support of a fair and accurate Census and ACS. He has also served previously on the Board of Directors for the National Institute for Lobbying and Ethics and and the Association of Government Relations Professionals. Howard has an MA International Relations from the University of Essex in England and a BA Honors Political Studies from Trent University in Canada, and has obtained the Certified Association Executive (CAE), Professional Lobbying Certificate (PLC) and the Public Policy Certificate (PPC). When not running advocacy for the Insights Association, Howard enjoys hockey, NFL football, sci-fi and horror movies, playing with his dog, and spending time with family and friends.

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