Realistic Laws Can Help Brokers Protect Data

March 27, 2019

The real estate industry is at the forefront of wanting to protect consumer data, a REALTOR® testified before the U.S. Senate’s Commerce Committee on Tuesday. Nina Dosanjh, vice chair of the National Association of REALTORS®’ Federal Technology Policy Committee, said it’s crucial federal data protection laws be realistic so real estate brokerages and their agents can be effective protectors of data.

Nina Dosanjh testifies before the Senate Commerce Committee.

National Association of REALTORS®

Nina Dosanjh, vice chair of NAR's Technology Policy Committee, testified before the Senate Commerce Committee March 26 that REALTORS® want to see strong, uniform data protection standards that can be implemented by small businesses, including most real estate brokerages.

“REALTORS® have no higher priority than their relationships with their clients,” Dosanjh told the committee. “We have a long history of supporting efforts to protect consumers’ sensitive personal information.”

For small brokerages and their agents, who are mostly independent contractors, federal data privacy laws must be uniform across industries and should not make distinctions between entities that collect data directly and those that do it indirectly.

Dosanjh, with the Nolan Group at Vanguard Properties in San Francisco, also said giant data service providers that typically handle data processing, storage, and analysis for small real estate brokerages and other businesses need statutory obligations to comply with laws, because terms covering data protection are not something small businesses can effectively negotiate with them on a case-by-case basis.

Another key point is for federal law to provide uniform requirements across the country. “Sensitive consumer information should be protected in a consistent manner regardless of the state in which a consumer resides,” she said.

In all, Dosanjh listed half a dozen criteria the real estate industry is advocating for to protect consumers and keep requirements on the industry realistic.