Voters Overwhelmingly Back Major Provisions of Proposed Federal Data Privacy Law

More than 4 in 5 voters supported each of the four primary planks of the new bill, a new Morning Consult/Politico survey found
June 15, 2022 at 6:00 am UTC

As Congress debates federal data privacy legislation, more than 80% of voters support each of the major provisions in the draft bill text, according to the latest Morning Consult/Politico survey.

At Least 4 in 5 Voters Back Provisions to Strengthen Data Privacy

Respondents were asked whether they support or oppose the following measures in Congress' newly released federal data privacy bill:
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Survey conducted June 10-12, 2022, among a representative sample of 2,005 registered voters, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-2 percentage points. Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

All measures have strong support, including among Democrats and Republicans

  • The provisions with the highest levels of support were the banning of the sale of individuals’ sensitive data to third parties without their explicit consent, a requirement that companies minimize the amount of data they collect on individuals and the enhancement of privacy protections for children under 17.
  • More than 80% of voters also backed a provision that would allow consumers to sue companies for damages if their data privacy is violated. All four measures have strong bipartisan support, at 81% or higher.
  • The bipartisan discussion draft of the American Data Privacy and Protection Act was introduced earlier this month by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) and ranking member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), as well as Senate Commerce Committee ranking member Roger Wicker (R-Miss.). Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) did not sign on as a cosponsor; she said in an email that Americans “need a strong federal law that is not riddled with enforcement loopholes.”
  • Voters remain supportive of a federal data privacy law. In the survey, 59% said they supported such legislation, compared with a January survey that found 56% felt similarly about a data privacy law. While Congress has debated national legislation previously, it has fallen short of a final agreement, with several states stepping in with their own laws.

Congress’ privacy bill draft receives measured support from industry, business

The discussion draft has received some support from technology groups and businesses, including some major players in the space. 

Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook sent a letter to lawmakers praising the draft’s “substantial protections for consumers,” and wrote that despite there still being issues to work out with the legislative text, “the areas of agreement appear to far outweigh the differences.”

However, some groups are not convinced. In a draft letter to lawmakers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce called the proposal “unworkable,” while a joint letter from the Computer & Communications Industry Association, the Software & Information Industry Association and TechNet said the groups “cannot support the legislation in its current form.” Both letters criticized the provision that would allow consumers to sue if their data privacy is breached.

The June 10-12, 2022, survey was conducted among a representative sample of 2,005 registered voters, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Chris Teale previously worked at Morning Consult as a reporter covering technology.

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