How Coronavirus Will Affect Washington’s Privacy Policy Debate

In the aftermath of the immediate Coronavirus crisis, and influenced by data needs associated with that crisis, Congress will be under intense pressure to modify U.S. privacy enforcement to enable health officials to monitor and track progress of future pandemics.

This pressure will change the privacy policy debate, setting up a new clash of public priorities. The Technology Policy Institute will host a virtual panel of experts to discuss the policy tradeoffs involved in this new chapter of the international privacy debate.

Moderated by TPI Fellow and President Emeritus Thomas Lenard, the virtual panel takes place on Tuesday, April 7, at 2:30 pm (EDT)

“The standard debate on the U.S. ex post enforcement model versus GDPR and CCPA has obscured the more fundamental questions that may be even more important, particularly in the context of a major health crisis: How to make the inevitable tradeoffs and who should be responsible for making them,” Lenard said. “These questions need to be addressed to assure that any new privacy regime yields net benefits relative to the current U.S. approach.”

Panelists for the virtual panel include:

Jane Bambauer, Professor of Law, University of Arizona
Julie Brill, Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Global Privacy and Regulatory Affairs, Microsoft
Alan Raul, Partner and Leader, Privacy, Data Security and Information Law Practice, Sidley Austin LLP
Liad Wagman, Senior Economic and Technology Advisor Office of Policy Planning, Federal Trade Commission
Among the questions the TPI virtual panel will address:

Is the current U.S. approach to privacy inadequate and, if so, in what way?
What harms should be addressed that are not being addressed currently?
How should harms be defined?
What are the tradeoffs?
Who should make them?
What are the potential uses of data to address coronavirus and evaluate various measures? Are they problematic? Are they precluded by current law?
Has the tradeoff changed due to the coronavirus? If so, how?
Will privacy legislation be affected by coronavirus pandemic?

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