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The Privacy Advisor | Heard around DC – Roundup and reflections for April 1, 2022 Related reading: Heard around DC — Roundup and reflections for March 25, 2022




Happy April Fools’ Day! Privacy professionals can be excused for not participating in the holiday, given how often we find ourselves celebrating news of giant leaps ... that turn out to be merely small steps. If there’s a theme for this week’s Washington, D.C. update, it’s exactly that: promising signs of more to come. Here's what’s happened since the last roundup:

  • Congress is considering thinking about privacy again. The Wall Street Journal reported meetings may have taken place as early as this week among aides to senior members of both the House and Senate commerce committees. This would signal the end of a months-long standstill on discussions related to comprehensive federal privacy legislation. The Washington Post editorial board entreated participants to find common ground, writing, “Legislators have no excuse not to succeed at last.” As Politico reports, one (of many) challenges facing Congress is deciding whether privacy legislation should also attempt to mitigate algorithmic bias.
  • FTC nominee one step closer to confirmation. On March 30, Alvaro Bedoya’s longstanding nomination to serve as a Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission was discharged from committee via a roll-call vote of the entire Senate. This parliamentary peculiarity (usually the committee would vote to recommend the nominee) was brought about by a special rule to handle contentious nominations under the current 50/50 political split. What’s next? Two more floor votes. One to stop debate and another to confirm the nominee. Based on the rules for timing these votes, Bedoya’s final approval cannot happen before April 5 and will likely be later.
  • FCC Commissioner Carr asked the FTC to investigate Crisis Text Line. The nonprofit suicide hotline has been the subject of debate after it was revealed it shared personal data with a for-profit affiliate, a practice it has since stopped. The Federal Communications Commission oversees the official 988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline but does not have authority to investigate Crisis Text Line. For more, read this analysis of the “governance crisis” in the crisis services field.
  • Privacy leaders on the move. Jared Bomberg has returned to the private sector after his stint as Senior Counsel at the Senate Commerce Committee. Bomberg now serves as Manager, Data Governance Center at Google.

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