Bloomberg Law
July 31, 2019, 7:12 PM

Senate Privacy Framework Would Give Consumers Power to Sue (1)

Daniel R. Stoller
Daniel R. Stoller
Senior Legal Editor
Rebecca Kern
Rebecca Kern

Companies that violate privacy rules may face consumer lawsuits under a draft Senate privacy bill framework, according to sources familiar with a version of the framework who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss it.

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) developed the draft framework, which the sources said also includes data security provisions, as Republican and Democratic lawmakers in both chambers work on broad privacy legislation. The move may complicate the chances that the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will advance any privacy bill this year.

“We’re not going to have a private right of action,” committee chairman Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) told reporters. “It’s totally a non-starter.”

Cantwell, the panel’s ranking member, has also been working on legislation with Wicker.

A Democratic Commerce Committee spokesman declined to comment on Cantwell’s draft framework.

“We are still respecting Chairman Wicker’s directive not to negotiate through the press,” the spokesman, Peter True, said.

Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who are also on the committee, have drafted a bill of their own. Their measure would pre-empt state privacy laws and increase Federal Trade Commission authority to police data privacy.

Moran isn’t ruling out including a private right of action in an eventual bill.

“I’ve never taken anything off the table in looking for the overall view of what the bill looks like,” Moran said, adding, “I’ve not seen what Sen. Cantwell is passing around, but I’ve been told that it’s very similar to where we were in our working group.”

Blumenthal said he has always supported a private right of action, but whether it would be part of a final bill “remains a question.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Daniel R. Stoller in Washington at, Rebecca Kern in Washington at

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