WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) released the following statement after the New York Times reported that federal prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into data deals Facebook struck with over 150 technology companies, including Amazon and Apple. The sharing agreements let the companies see users’ friends, contact information and other data, sometimes without consent.

“These new reports are just the latest example of companies like Facebook failing to protect consumers’ private information and profiting off of Americans’ data —we’re just scratching the surface of the magnitude of this problem. These companies have proven that they can’t police themselves and Congress needs to act—we can start by passing my bipartisan privacy bill and working to ensure that users can protect their personal data. This is also just another example of why taxing the companies for data use would also both compensate taxpayers and require the companies to track and be accountable for what they are doing.”

Klobuchar has been a leader in the fight to protect consumers’ private information. Senator Klobuchar and Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) introduced the Social Media Privacy and Consumer Rights Act to 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.

In October 2017, Klobuchar introduced the Honest Ads Act with Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, and the late Senator John McCain (R-AZ) to help prevent foreign interference in future elections and improve the transparency of online political advertisements. Russia attempted to influence the 2016 presidential election by buying and placing political ads on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google. The content and purchaser(s) of those online advertisements are a mystery to the public because of outdated laws that have failed to keep up with evolving technology. The Honest Ads Act would prevent foreign actors from influencing our elections by ensuring that political ads sold online are covered by the same rules as ads sold on TV, radio, and satellite.