On November 21, 2022, the National Association of REALTORS®, along with the other 18 member associations of the Main Street Privacy Coalition (“MSPC”), sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) regarding its advanced notice of proposed rulemaking on the Trade Regulation Rule on Commercial Surveillance and Data Security.
In August, the FTC launched the ANPR to seek public comment on whether new rules are needed to address potential harms stemming from commercial data security practices. MSPC has long advocated for a uniform national data privacy and security standard that creates clear protections for Americans, while allowing members’ businesses to serve their customers in the ways they have come to rely upon. In its letter, MSPC provided a set of guiding principles for the Commission to consider before setting any regulation of data privacy and security.
While data regulation tends to focus on policy dealing with how commerce takes place on the Internet or the tech sector, MSPC’s chief concern is how these regulations would impact Main Street businesses. REALTORS® and merchants using data to communicate with their existing customer base is fundamentally different from what data brokers and third parties unknown to consumers do with information. The letter underscores that many Main Street businesses must maintain and retain data in order to effectively serve their customers and clients, as opposed to conducting “commercial surveillance.” Therefore, it is important that any data security standards be based on reasonableness, taking into account the diversity of different businesses covered by the regulation.