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Nearly eight in 10 Americans think Congress needs to prioritize data privacy legislation, according to a Morning Consult survey from December.With that as the starting point, Adweek CEO Jeff Litvack spoke with Chris D’Angelo, chief deputy attorney general for economic justice at the New York attorney general’s office during Adweek’s NexTech 2020 Virtual Summit about where we’re at on privacy legislation and what enforcement might look like.“There’s real justified concern for that 79% of Americans who are looking at the landscape and seeing what is a fragmented regulatory structure,” said D’Angelo. “There’s no question that as a country we would be better off with federal legislation that laid the foundation for what our privacy expectations are.”As far as what role that federal legislation should play, D’Angelo said he disagreed with other NexTech panelists on how much states can do in the meantime, or to bolster federal regulations after they’re established. “I think there’s certainly room for states to go above and beyond whatever federal floor is set,” he said.While there’s no comprehensive privacy law in effect in New York yet, D’Angelo noted that there are some tools in place to curb breaches of data security and protect consumers from deceptive practices.With the California Consumer Privacy Act—the first state-level legislation of its kind—D’Angelo said that lawmakers got some things right and some things wrong.There are many points in the CCPA that have remained fuzzy for consumers and businesses alike. But the bigger problem, according to D’Angelo, is that the regulation comes too late in the process. Asking consumers to stop what they’re doing and make a decision about a bunch of complex privacy questions when they really just want to use a new app is an ineffective way of ensuring that rights are protected.That kind of a model “doesn’t operate in a way that’s consistent with how human beings think and act,” he said. “A more comprehensive regime would give consumers the ability to opt out or in early on in the process.”Something like a registry of people who have chosen not to have their data tracked or sold should be part of the conversation as more legislation is written and proposed, D’Angelo said.

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