“Travel Tech supports federal legislation to establish a single, uniform standard for data privacy across the country. It will benefit both travelers and businesses by eliminating confusion and streamlining compliance. We urge Congress to finally act to end the “privacy patchwork” of state laws.”

Laura Chadwick, President & CEO, Travel Technology Association

Since 2018, 185 comprehensive privacy bills have been considered across 46 states and 13 states have enacted comprehensive privacy bills: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. This has created a conflicting patchwork of privacy laws that confuses consumers and harms all sizes of our country’s businesses. Such a fragmented, “patchwork” approach also unduly wastes resources on complicated compliance efforts, and in the end, compromises privacy protections for the residents and tourists who visit their state.

Congress must finally act to establish a comprehensive national data privacy framework. Doing so will protect consumers’ data and privacy no matter where they live and provide businesses with certainty about their responsibilities. Travel Tech is a member and supports the United for Privacy coalition’s effort to end the privacy patchwork. We further believe that a federal data privacy framework is a fundamental first step towards regulating the responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI).

For any data privacy legislation to be successful without causing unnecessary disruptive effects to the US economy, we believe the following should be considered when developing a federal privacy framework:

Travel Tech’s Key Principles for Federal Privacy Legislation

  1. Consistent Terminology for Global Clarity: A new federal privacy law should align definitions and terminology with established international frameworks. Diverse terminology across global privacy frameworks creates confusion, especially for companies operating internationally.
  2. Flexible Purposes for Responsible Data Use: Congress should avoid a rigid list of permitted data uses which would hinder innovation and adaptability for businesses. Instead, it should support flexible “legitimate interest” provisions as the primary legal basis for processing, allowing businesses to adapt to evolving needs while respecting individual privacy.
  3. Free Flow of Data for Global Efficiency: Congress should avoid data localization restrictions in any new federal privacy law. Promotion of a framework that facilitates the free flow of personal data while upholding robust data protection principles will help balance individual privacy with global economic growth and promote responsible data practices.

Travel Tech believes these principles can contribute to a balanced and effective federal privacy law that protects individual rights while supporting responsible data use and a thriving global digital economy. Passing a national framework consistent across all states and jurisdictions will provide clarity and consistency for companies and consumers and improve rates of compliance which in turn should lead to greater protection for travelers.

Travel Tech is a member of the United for Privacy: End the Patchwork coalition. The purpose of the coalition is to advocate for comprehensive federal privacy legislation that creates a uniform national standard, preempts state law, and ends the privacy patchwork of various state regulations.

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Nicole Brewin

VP of Government Affairs