The ULC's data-privacy committee

The work begins...

Today is the first in-person meeting of the drafting committee of the Uniform Collection and Use of Personally Identifiable Data Act, which will focus on data-privacy issues. Although there is a discussion draft of the proposal, the work is just beginning. Over the next two years, the committee will meet several times and go line-by-line, debating (and redebating) language and concepts. Additionally, the measure will be considered at two Annual Meetings of the Uniform Law Commission where, again, it will be debated line-by-line.

I’ve written before about the ULC’s unique capacity and track record around successful technology-related policymaking. My instinct is that the ULC will rise to the occasion again.

Although many of those who live “at the intersection of policy and technology” have asked for congressional intervention into the issues of data privacy, I am excited by the prospect of data-privacy legislation remaining a state-level concern. Although there is a role for national privacy protections, the issues at stake (consent, contract law, and the cluster of “privacy” torts) have historically been state-level issues.

The common objection to having states (as opposed to Congress) legislate in the area is that you may have a patchwork of regulations; fortunately, the ULC exists to blunt that objection. And if Congress legislates, it will almost certainly preempt the right of states to enforce laws at a local level. To me, the ULC seems like the best path forward for reasonable data-privacy legislation in the US.

Time will tell whether the drafting committee and the ULC will fashion a proposal worthy of enactment. This measure, in particular, will be difficult work. Nonetheless, I am fortunate enough to be on the drafting committee and am eager to put my shoulder into it.

If you have thoughts or ideas for me about topics I should discuss or think about in the process, drop me an email or a comment below!