Skip to Content

CDT Urges House Energy & Commerce to Vote No on American Privacy Rights Act

UPDATE 6/27/24, in response to the news that the markup was cancelled, Eric Null — Co-Director of CDT’s Privacy & Data Project — issued the following statement:

“Today, the House Energy & Commerce Committee made the right call to cancel its markup of the updated American Privacy Rights Act, which lacked vital and necessary protections for civil rights and algorithmic transparency that were included in prior bill drafts and in the American Data Privacy and Protection Act from 2022. We are encouraged to see the Committee avoid establishing bad precedent by voting on a privacy bill without civil rights. We know that Chair McMorris Rodgers and Ranking Member Pallone remain committed, as do we, to passing strong privacy legislation, and we will continue to work with those offices to ensure we do just that.”


(WASHINGTON) — Tomorrow, the House Energy & Commerce Committee will host a markup of the American Privacy Rights Act (APRA). CDT opposes the new agreement, and urges members to vote no.While the new draft of APRA contains moderate improvements in some areas, and parts of the bill would increase privacy protections, the new draft removes essential provisions protecting civil rights and requiring baseline algorithmic assessments. 

Alexandra Reeve Givens, president and CEO of CDT, issued the following statement:

“Civil rights protections are a vital and necessary aspect of any comprehensive privacy bill. The issue has been a top priority for civil society. CDT has urged that every iteration of APRA, and privacy bills before it, include and retain strong civil rights language, and similar civil rights language was voted out of this committee two years ago in a bipartisan vote of 53-2. This bill is a significant step backwards.

“It is disappointing and beyond frustrating that the most recent draft leaves critical civil rights protections on the cutting room floor and that civil society was not consulted in advance of that decision. Discriminating through data practices is one of the worst things companies can do with data, and one of the worst privacy-related harms experienced by society. Privacy legislation needs to clearly prevent discriminatory data practices, and APRA no longer does that. Members should oppose this version of the bill.

“We recognize that Chair McMorris Rodgers and Ranking Member Pallone want to pass robust comprehensive privacy legislation and we appreciate their continued focus on this work. But the bill as it stands would not only be a missed opportunity; it would undermine a central tenet that privacy laws must address the harms of data-driven discrimination. We hope that the House Energy & Commerce Committee does not set a precedent that privacy bills can advance without civil rights protections.”

The bill as introduced also includes a significant loophole that almost fully exempts any data that is collected and processed on a device. On-device data can still cause harm, be discriminatory, and intrude on people’s privacy even if the data stays on the device. A full exemption is not merited.


The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) is the leading nonpartisan, nonprofit organization fighting to advance civil rights and civil liberties in the digital age. We shape technology policy, governance, and design with a focus on equity and democratic values. Established in 1994, CDT has been a trusted advocate for digital rights since the earliest days of the internet. The organization is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and has a Europe Office in Brussels, Belgium.