Lawmakers Are Getting The Ball Rolling On A National Privacy Law

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Lawmakers Are Getting The Ball Rolling On A National Privacy Law
The Senate Commerce Committee heard from big tech representatives on a potential federal privacy law during a hearing Wednesday.
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Bipartisan lawmakers want to start piecing together framework for a federal data privacy law – and they're turning to the tech industry for help.

During a privacy hearing Wednesday, the Senate Commerce Committee heard testimony on the issue from big tech representatives and trade experts. 

While most agree that national comprehensive legislation is needed, it's not entirely clear how to go about it. 

One point of contention is how much authority to give the Federal Trade Commission in order to regulate privacy practices, and issue punishments for companies that aren't in compliance. Currently, the FTC is responsible for oversight, but doesn't have the power to crack down. 

Also up for debate is whether a federal privacy law would override state privacy laws, like California's landmark legislation. 

Washington started taking steps to crack down on big tech companies and the way they handle consumers' information following multiple high-profile data breaches in recent years. 

The House Energy and Commerce panel also held a hearing on the same topic Tuesday. 

Sen. Mark Warner told the Washington Post that he hopes lawmakers will have proposals in place later this year.