State influence on the path to a federal US privacy law

As California and Virginia adopt privacy laws, many other states propose similar legislation to protect their consumers. By Lindsey Tonsager and Tian Kisch of Covington & Burling LLP.

Support for a comprehensive data privacy law in the United States has grown over the last three years. However, the legislative agenda in the US Congress is crowded, and prospects for passage of federal privacy legislation remain uncertain. Congress is focused on pandemic-related recovery efforts, proposals to update the nation’s infrastructure, and several other significant matters unrelated to data privacy. Multiple privacy measures have been introduced in Congress that overlap in many respects, but diverge on a few important details. And, in the meantime, numerous states have proposed their own privacy measures, but few have succeeded in enacting privacy legislation. As a result, and as explored more below, whether Congress succeeds in enacting federal privacy legislation might be influenced in large part on what does or does not happen in the states over the next 18 months.

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