WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Kennedy (R-LA) introduced the Social Media Privacy and Consumer Rights Act, bipartisan legislation that would protect the privacy of consumers’ online data by improving transparency, strengthening consumers’ recourse options when a breach of data occurs, and ensuring companies are compliant with privacy policies that protect consumers.
“Every day, companies profit off of the data they’re collecting from Americans, yet leave consumers completely in the dark about how their personal information, online behavior, and private messages are being used. Consumers should have the right to control their personal data,” Klobuchar said. “Our legislation would ensure that companies use plain language to explain to consumers how their data is being used, allow consumers to opt out of certain data tracking and collection , and require companies to notify consumers of privacy violations within 72 hours of a breach.”
“I don’t want to regulate Facebook or any private social media company, but these platforms continue to compromise their users’ private data,” Kennedy said. “Our legislation reinforces data privacy standards and requires these companies to be transparent with how they are using our private information. In today’s world, private data is the equivalent of our personal identities, and companies need to know that they’ll be held accountable when they violate the public’s trust and compromise our private information. Our legislation does just that.”
Social media and other online platforms routinely capture users’ behavior and personal information, which is then used to help advertisers or other third parties target those users. Klobuchar and Kennedy’s legislation would protect the privacy of consumers’ online data. Specifically, the Social Media Privacy and Consumer Rights Act would:
- Give consumers the right to opt-out and keep their information private by disabling data tracking and collection,
- Provide users greater access to and control over their data,
- Require terms of service agreements to be in plain language,
- Ensure users have the ability to see what information about them has already been collected and shared,
- Mandate that users be notified of a breach of their information within 72 hours,
- Offer remedies for users when a breach occurs,
- Require that online platforms have a privacy program in place.