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Online data privacy has begun to concern policymakers globally. Photo: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

Both Silicon Valley and privacy advocates are eyeing the potential for federal privacy legislation after California lawmakers passed their own sweeping measure.

Why it matters: In the wake of California’s bill and the recently-enacted General Data Protection Regulation in the European Union, industry may prefer a single national standard — and privacy advocates may applaud, too, preferring even partial nationwide rules to none at all.

The big picture: Many lawmakers have been working on privacy bills in the last several months, as concern has mounted on Capitol Hill about the way that online platforms use personal data. No single idea has broken through, however, and policymaking is likely to stall as the midterm elections approach.

There‘s the possibility a federal law could preempt state law in California and potentially other states that pass their own bills.

  • “I think that there is some discussion to be had about that,” said the the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Jordan Crenshaw, at a Thursday panel hosted by the Congressional Internet Caucus. “In terms of what is preempted, in the long run I think the more we have the federal government involved with this data issue, that's better than the states creating a patchwork.”
  • He added that the business lobby was working towards developing its own privacy principles.

There was some optimism about the chances for a bill to move through Congress, despite a tough legislative environment. “I don’t know that the bill will look like I would hope, in my fevered imagination, but I think it’s possible that there will be elements of protection that get put into play,” said Michelle De Mooy, director of the Center for Democracy and Technology’s Privacy and Data Project.

The bottom line: The pressure on federal lawmakers will mount with the approach of the 2020 implementation date of the California law, which tech will also be lobbying to change.

New development: The White House backed the idea of federal privacy legislation on Friday morning.

Go deeper

55 mins ago - World

In photos: Deadly Cyclone Tauktae leaves trail of destruction across India

A police officer helps a public transport driver cross a flooded street due to heavy rain caused by Tropical Cyclone Tauktae in Mumbai, India, on May 17. Photo: Ashish Vaishnav/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Tropical Cyclone Tauktae killed at least 16 people in India after making landfall in Gujarat Monday, packing 100mph winds, and sweeping across Kerala, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra, per Reuters.

The big picture: The storm unleashed heavy rains and winds as authorities continued to grapple with surging infection rates and deaths from COVID-19. Over 200,000 people were evacuated from Gujarat, and ports, airports and vaccination centers shut in the state and Mumbai, Reuters reports. Tauktae weakened from a Category 3 storm into a "severe cyclonic storm" Tuesday morning local time.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Yellen wants business to help foot infrastructure bill

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is heading into the belly of the beast Tuesday and asking the business community to support President Biden's $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan during a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Why it matters: By trying to persuade a skeptical and targeted audience, Yellen is signaling the president’s commitment to raising corporate taxes to pay for his plan. Republican senators, critical to a potential bipartisan deal, oppose any corporate tax increase.

4 hours ago - World

Schumer's Israel vise

Sen. Chuck Schumer addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in March 2014. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's longtime support for Israel puts him on a collision course with the progressive wing of his party as the conflict between Israel and Hamas worsens.

Why it matters: This is the toughest political position the New York Democrat has been in since becoming majority leader. The fighting in the Middle East is dividing his party — and creating a clear rift among its different wings.

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