By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
On September 17, 2020, Republican members of the Senate Commerce Committee introduced sweeping federal privacy legislation. The proposed law is called the Setting an American Framework to Ensure Data Access, Transparency, and Accountability (SAFE DATA) Act. The Act is a combination of bills previously introduced in the Senate: the Consumer Data Protection Act, Filter Bubble Transparency Act, and the Deceptive Experiences to Online Users Reduction Act. It hasn’t passed, yet, so let’s wait and see.
HAH! You thought you had learned all of the acronyms and abbreviations because you know what HIPAA, HITECH, FERPA, USCDPA, and FOIA mean. Let’s see how long it takes you to remember what this one stands for.
What is the SAFE DATA Act?
This proposed legislation has three main components if passed into actual law. It:
1. Provides consumers with more choice and control over their data (allegedly),
2. Directs business to be more transparent and accountable (allegedly), and
3. Strengthens the FTC’s enforcement power (allegedly).
The Act would provide consumer rights, such as access, notice, deletion, opting-out, correction, and a right to data portability. It also prohibits covered entities from discriminating against consumers who utilize some of the proposed rights. It will prohibit organizations from denying goods or services to individuals because they have exercised any of their rights as set forth in the bill.
Implementation of the bill would be financed through a $100 million appropriation to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to enforce its provisions. Therefore, the FTC would gain the authority to obtain injunctions and impose other sanctions for violations.
Integrating Other Privacy Bill Provisions.
The SAFE DATA Act incorporates three main bill provisions into the proposal.
First, it includes the Filter Bubble Transparency Act (don’t ask). It requires a notice on public-facing websites that use algorithmic ranking systems
Second, it contains provisions from the Deceptive Experiences To Online Users Reduction (“DETOUR”) bill (ouch!). This provision makes it unlawful for an online service with more than 100 million authenticated users to use a user interface to impair user autonomy.
Third, like the United States Consumer Data Privacy Act (CDPA), the proposal requires companies to obtain affirmative, express consent from the customer before processing or transferring individuals’ sensitive data.
According to Julie Brill, former Commissioner of the FTC, a comprehensive privacy law would also address consent and collection issues related to COVID-19 health data, while at the same time promoting racial equality and prohibiting data discrimination. Boy, that’s great; who knew this was likely to be accomplished in our lifetimes.
View the proposed Safe Data Act in full.
You may also read one of my prior blogs to learn more about HIPAA privacy rights violations and medical confidentiality.
Contact a Health Law Attorney Experienced in Defending HIPAA Complaints and Violations.
The attorneys of The Health Law Firm represent physicians, medical groups, nursing homes, home health agencies, pharmacies, hospitals, and other healthcare providers and institutions in investigating and defending alleged HIPAA complaints and violations and in preparing Corrective Action Plans (CAPs).
For more information about HIPAA violations, electronic health records or corrective action plans (CAPs) please visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com or call (407) 331-6620 or toll-free (888) 331-6620.
Cox, Ayeisha. “Lawmakers Introduce the SAFE DATA Act.” American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA). (October 2, 2020). Web.
Traylor. Christian. “Federal Data Privacy Legislation: Will it Help the US Remain Competitive in the Global Marketplace?” JD Supra. (September 29, 2020). Web.
Panakal, Dominic Dhil. “Senate Republicans Stitch Together Safe Data Ideas into New Bill.” The National Law Review. (September 24, 2020).
About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave. Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.
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