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Privacy & Data

CDT CEO Alexandra Givens Testimony Before House Energy & Commerce Hearing on “Promoting U.S. Innovation and Individual Liberty Through a National Standard For Data Privacy”

On March 1, 2023, CDT CEO Alexandra Reeve Givens is testifying before the Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce (of the 118th Congress), to discuss the crucial importance of comprehensive U.S. federal privacy legislation.

The hearing is entitled “Promoting U.S. Innovation and Individual Liberty through a National Standard for Data Privacy,” and the livestream / recording of the hearing is available here.

From Alexandra’s written testimony:


Thank you Chair Bilirakis, Ranking Member Schakowsky, and Chair Rodgers and Ranking Member Pallone of the full committee for the opportunity to testify on the importance of data privacy, and the urgent need for Congress to pass a meaningful federal privacy law to protect consumers, create certainty for businesses, and restore trust in the online ecosystem that is so essential to our economy and our society.

I am Alexandra Reeve Givens, President and CEO of the Center for Democracy & Technology, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that defends civil rights, civil liberties and democratic values in the digital age. For over two decades, CDT has advocated for Congress to adopt strong privacy protections. We were one of the first organizations to propose a comprehensive privacy framework in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, when it was revealed that the data of almost 90 million Facebook users was collected without their consent by a political consulting firm to create profiles of people to more precisely target political advertising. Even in the short time since then, the public understanding of privacy harms has changed significantly, in part thanks to the work of this Committee and its Senate counterpart. By our count, this is the 31st hearing held in the U.S. Congress on consumer privacy in just the past five years: substantive hearings that have built a rigorous and detailed record about the overwhelming need for a comprehensive federal privacy law. We commend the Committee’s focus on this issue early in the new Congress, because it is long past time for Congress to act.

This morning, I plan to briefly describe how the current commercial data ecosystem is harming consumers, how the current legal regime governing online privacy has failed to keep up with innovation, and why the U.S. needs a significant shift in how we protect consumer privacy and the use of consumers’ data through passage of a meaningful federal privacy law.

Read Alexandra’s full testimony here.