The California Consumer Privacy Act “has galvanized the U.S. Congress to start thinking really hard about federal privacy legislation. We’ve encouraged them to do that,” said Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joe Simons.

Other key takeaways from Simons’ conversation with International Association of Privacy Professionals Chief Knowledge Officer Omer Tene:

  • Though not specifically commenting on any one case or company, Simons suggested record fines are on their way.
  • [The FTC should] get civil penalties “right out of the box. We’re not in a position to get monetary relief for the first violation, only after the first consent order.” He’d like to see that change.

Regarding preemption by a federal law, there could be a trade-off, a federal bill with preemption that would allow state attorneys general to enforce the federal law. He also said that he has a sense preemption would be narrow and not include the FTC Act or privacy torts.

“And what if the U.S. Congress passed a federal privacy law?… the [FTC] would certainly need to hire extra staff in its enforcement division and extra technologists. It would take a while,” he said.

Details from IAPP