Members of our community routinely use social media to connect with friends and families at home and abroad, to browse the internet for important local and national stories, and to access various other digital goods and services. As consumers, our ability to exercise choice across today’s vast and growing internet ecosystem is invaluable. We are also sharing our data with greater frequency and in higher volumes. Unfortunately, the laws and regulations needed to keep our information safe have not kept pace with our growing dependence on internet services. The time for Congress to step in is long overdue.

The absence of a comprehensive privacy law is a risk to consumers. As the largest national affiliation of Filipinos and Filipino Americans, we support privacy legislation that not only protects the 4 million Filipinos residing in all parts of the country, but also allows small businesses and startups to invest in new technology and services. A single set of privacy rules that applies to all internet companies will give consumers and businesses a greater sense of security and confidence in the internet, allowing innovation to thrive. Yet, success in protecting internet users is far from guaranteed.

Federal inaction has spurred state-led alternatives that fall short of the kind of comprehensive protections that consumers should be entitled to, no matter where they are or how they access the internet. Allowing states to impose their own privacy rules would create a patchwork of inconsistent and conflicting laws that would only leave consumers and their data more vulnerable to misuse. The state-led approach creates gaps in protections – a scenario that runs contrary to our mission to promote the well-being of Filipino Americans throughout the country.

Congress must act to ensure that all communities are protected by a set of fair, transparent, and comprehensive privacy rules. Federal legislation is the only path forward to guarantee that internet companies – from content creators to device manufacturers – behave in consumers’ best interest. It is time that Congress fulfill its legislative duty and ensure that consumer protection laws keep pace with technological progress.

Federal legislation should establish the proper mechanisms necessary to protect consumers as their data flows seamlessly across the internet. These protections are critical for Filipinos, who account for nearly a fifth of U.S. Asian American population and retain strong cultural ties across borders. The internet has revolutionized how we engage with one another – federal privacy legislation is essential to the sustained cultural, economic and political empowerment of our community.