House Committee Postpones Markup Amid New Privacy Bill Updates
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On June 27, 2024, the U.S. House of Representatives cancelled the House Energy and Commerce Committee markup of the American Privacy Rights Act (“APRA” or “Bill”) scheduled for that day, reportedly with little notice. There has been no indication of when the markup will be rescheduled; however, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers issued a statement reiterating her support for the legislation.

On June 20, 2024, the House posted a third version of the discussion draft of the APRA.  On June 25, 2024, two days before the scheduled markup session, Committee members introduced the APRA as a bill, H.R. 8818. Each version featured several key changes from earlier drafts, which are outlined collectively, below.

Notable changes in H.R. 8818 include the removal of two key sections:

  • “Civil Rights and Algorithms,” which required entities to conduct covered algorithm impact assessments when algorithms posed a consequential risk of harm to individuals or groups; and
  • “Consequential Decision Opt-Out,” which allowed individuals to opt out of being subjected to covered algorithms.

Additional changes include the following:

  • The Bill introduces new definitions, such as “coarse geolocation information” and “online activity profile,” the latter of which refines a category of sensitive data. “Neural data” and “information that reveals the status of an individual as a member of the Armed Forces” are added as new categories of sensitive data. The Bill also modifies the definitions of “contextual advertising” and “first-party advertising.”
  • The data minimization section includes a number of changes, such as the addition of “conduct[ing] medical research” in compliance with applicable federal law as a new permitted purpose. The Bill also limits the ability to rely on permitted purposes in processing sensitive covered data, biometric and genetic information.
  • The Bill now allows not only covered entities (excluding data brokers or large data holders), but also service providers (that are not large data holders) to apply for the Federal Trade Commission-approved compliance guideline mechanism.
  • Protections for covered minors now include a prohibition on first-party advertising (in addition to targeted advertising) if the covered entity knows the individual is a minor, with limited exceptions acknowledged by the Bill. It also restricts the transfer of a minor’s covered data to third parties.
  • The Bill adds another preemption clause, clarifying that APRA would preempt any state law providing protections for children or teens to the extent such laws conflict with the Bill, but does not prohibit states from enacting laws, rules or regulations that offer greater protection to children or teens than the APRA.

For additional information about the changes, please refer to the unofficial redline comparison of all APRA versions published by the IAPP.


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