For years, the business community has been calling for a comprehensive federal privacy law, frustrated with operating under a patchwork of sometimes-conflicting state laws. Now Congress is considering one that's extremely wide-ranging and that observers say has a legitimate chance of passage.

The American Privacy Rights Act (APRA)—unveiled over the weekend by Senate Commerce Committee chair Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) and House Commerce Committee chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Washington)—would cover every company with annual revenue topping $40 million, along with nonprofits, a realm previously untouched by the privacy regime.

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