- The Washington Times - Monday, August 2, 2021

Amazon is fighting a fine of about $886 million for allegedly violating European Union rules on how to process data, while American lawmakers are urging a concerted U.S. effort for new consumer data privacy rules.

The Luxembourg National Commission for Data Protection (CNPD) has claimed that Amazon violated the EU‘s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and imposed a fine of 746 million euros on July 16, according to an Amazon filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last week.

The EU‘s regulation was enacted in 2018 and restricts the processing of personal data without a user’s consent.

“We believe the CNPD’s decision to be without merit and intend to defend ourselves vigorously in this matter,” Amazon said in the filing.

As tech companies like Amazon fight scrutiny from international regulators, U.S. lawmakers are urging the federal government to move swiftly to enact data privacy rules. On the same day that CNPD decided to fine Amazon last month, four Republican lawmakers wrote to President Biden to ask him to work with Congress to develop a nationwide consumer data privacy law. 

Sens. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Roger Wicker of Mississippi with Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington and Gus Bilirakis of Florida called for a single national data protection standard instead of differing state laws that vary across the country. 

“Absent much-needed federal data privacy legislation, we risk losing consumers’ trust and confidence in the internet marketplace and undermining our national security and technological leadership abroad,” the four lawmakers wrote to Mr. Biden. “In particular, the passage of federal data privacy legislation would bolster America’s position in the ongoing negotiations with the European Union to create a new framework governing transatlantic data flows. It would also solidify the United States’ status as a global leader on consumer privacy, by ensuring innovation and competition remain a foundational principle to our economic advancements, especially at a time when China, Russia, and others seek to do the same.”

Other lawmakers also have sought new rules for data privacy restrictions. In April, a bipartisan coalition of 20 senators proposed the Not for Sale Act, which targets data brokers’ selling Americans’ data without court oversight. 

Sens. Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat, and Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, led the coalition — which included Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer — but the legislation has stalled.

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