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California Attorney General Asks Congress to Shield Privacy Laws

Feb. 25, 2020, 9:58 PM

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is urging U.S. lawmakers not to preempt state laws as they craft a federal privacy measure.

Congress should set a privacy-protection “floor rather than a ceiling, allowing my state—and others that may follow—the opportunity to provide further protections tailored to our residents,” Becerra (D) said in a letter to the leaders of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

California and other states are trying to protect steps they’re taking on privacy in the absence of a federal law. U.S. lawmakers have proposed plans but have been far apart on issues such as whether a federal law should preempt state statutes or include a private right of action that allows consumers to sue.

Becerra sent his letter to Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Ricker (R-Miss.) and ranking member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), and to House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.) and ranking member Greg Walden (R-Ore.).

Congress should make clear that state attorneys general have “parallel enforcement authority” and that consumers have a private right of action, Becerra said.

Congress also should give consumers privacy protections such as the right to access, correct, and delete personal information collected about them, he said. Legislation also should give consumers the right to data portability, he said.

The California Consumer Privacy Act, which gives consumers the right to ask a business to delete information about them and opt out of the sale of their personal information, took effect Jan 1. Becerra’s office will enforce the law starting July 1.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sara Merken in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Hughes at; Keith Perine at

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