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Millennials Do Value Privacy, and Congress Should Pass Federal Privacy Legislation, Says Rick Boucher

Masha Abarinova

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WASHINGTON, July 30, 2019 – Disputing the stereotype that the “millennial” generation doesn’t value privacy as much as their elders do, former Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., said that the result of a recent survey on attitudes about privacy suggest that it’s time for Congress to act on privacy legislation.

Boucher, the former co-chair of the influential Congressional Internet Caucus and Honorary Chairman of the Internet Innovation Alliance, said on Tuesday that the nation needs a single, nation-wide privacy framework that encompasses the internet.

The survey by CivicScience asked both millennials and older adults which privacy issues concerned them the most.

Examples of issues included hacking of financial data, personal data used for advertising, location data used commercially and whether there should be a national policy addressing consumer data privacy rules.

Sixty-four percent of millennial respondents said that a single, comprehensive privacy law is necessary, and about 75 percent of older adults also agree. Millennials and older adults also scored similarly in the other questions.

The survey results clearly show that millennials highly value online privacy, said Boucher.

However, because millennials grew up with the internet, there is an assumption that they are largely unconcerned with online privacy. These survey results, he said, show that these assumptions are false.

According to the CivicScience report: “It’s rare to find a topic on which the vast majority of Americans agree, let alone when it’s a question of national policy, yet current public opinion on data privacy issues is remarkably aligned.”

With that in mind, Boucher urged legislators to take the next step in privacy legislation.

Several models for a national law are currently in the works. One example is the EU’s opt-in model, in which consumers must give express permission for companies to use their data.

Adopting legislation imposing regulations on every company using personal data will be a golden opportunity for Congress, he said.

However, lawmakers need to ensure that they are not mandating a certain level of encryption of among companies. Rather, companies should be given options of how to make their data collection more secure.

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