SANTA MONICA, CA – Consumer Watchdog strongly supports the Consumer Privacy Protection Act introduced today by Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and five other Democratic Senators.

“This is a strong bill that provides important protections for consumers’ data,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director. “Importantly it sets a strong federal baseline and pre-empts only weaker state laws.  It leaves stronger state laws in place.”

Consumer Watchdog noted that 47 states already have breach notification laws, adding that it is essential that federal legislation not undermine those protections.

In addition to Leahy the bill is cosponsored by Democratic Senators Al Franken (Minn.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Ron Wyden (Ore.), and Edward J. Markey (Mass).

Key provisions in the Consumer Privacy Protection Act of 2015 include:

-- Requiring companies who store sensitive personal or financial information on 10,000 customers or more to meet consumer privacy and data security standards to keep this information safe, and notify the customer within 30 days of a breach. 
-- Establishing a broad definition of information that must be protected, including social security numbers; financial account information; online usernames and passwords; unique biometric data, including fingerprints; information about a person’s physical and mental health; information about a person’s geo-location; and access to private digital photographs and videos.

-- Requiring companies to inform federal law enforcement of all large breaches, as well as breaches that involved federal government databases or law enforcement or national security personnel.

-- Guaranteeing a federal baseline of strong consumer privacy protections for all Americans by preempting weaker state laws, while leaving stronger state laws in place.

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