Colorado should enact a privacy law to hold tech companies accountable for consumer harms because the federal government isn’t likely to adopt a measure, the state’s attorney general, Phil Weiser (D), said in a Dec. 9 interview.
“It’s likely we pass a privacy law” in Colorado in 2020 that would provide increased enforcement powers, Weiser said on the sidelines of the National Association of Attorneys General Capital Forum in Washington. States are taking steps “as we likely don’t see national action on the horizon,” he said.
Tech company privacy risks have prompted state legislators to consider following the lead of California, which enacted the Consumer Privacy Protection Act that takes effect Jan. 1. Tech companies have sought a federal law that would override ride state legislative efforts and fend off a possible patchwork of approaches.
States will be the place for experimentation with privacy legislation, Weiser said. Citizens of states with privacy laws will have protections “that we wouldn’t have if we waited for the federal government.”
Weiser also sits on the executive committee for the Facebook and Google competition probes. The multi-state investigations are examining the tech companies’ advertising practices and possible competition concerns in the marketplace.
The investigations will take time, Weiser said. State attorneys general are committed to working together “as a team” to figure out possible competition theories, he added. Staffers will continue “digging” into the big tech investigations because no “good antitrust investigation” is static, he said.
A Facebook spokesperson had no comment. A Google spokesman said he had no comment on antitrust investigations but that the company has pushed for a federal privacy law.
Weiser said states are open to working with federal counterparts, who are conducting antitrust investigations of Facebook and Google, although there isn’t a collaborative agreement in place.
Weiser said FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra (D) has been a “big fan” of state antitrust intervention and has been a proponent of working together, he said.
“This has been a collaborative group,” Weiser said of the multiple enforcers looking into the big tech giant’s competition concerns.