WASHINGTON, DC –U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar today highlighted efforts to protect consumers’ privacy in the digital age, across technologies and devices. During a Senate Commerce Committee hearing, Klobuchar discussed her work to fight deceptive telephone billing practices such as “cramming” as well as legislation she introduced today to prohibit an employer from requiring a current or potential employee to turn over their password to a Facebook or other private online account. The hearing featured testimony from Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Jon Leibowitz and Cameron Kerry, General Counsel and co-chair of the Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force.
“Consumers expect their information to be private, secure, and accurate no matter what device they use or what service they use,” Klobuchar said. “From stopping deceptive billing practices to protecting employees’ private information, we need to ensure that our laws keep up with advances in technology and respect fundamental values like the right to privacy.”
Klobuchar has been a leader in the effort to protect consumers’ privacy and data, both on traditional and emerging devices and services. She has pushed to stop the wireless billing practice known as “cramming,” when a third party adds unauthorized, misleading, or deceptive charges to a consumer's telephone bill. Klobuchar successfully put pressure on Verizon, AT&T and CenturyLink to stop placing these third-party charges on landline phone bills, and the FCC also agreed to fight cramming on landline phone bills and look into cramming on cell phone bills after Klobuchar’s urging.
Today Klobuchar also introduced The Password Protection Act with Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) to prohibit employers from coercing job applicants or current employees to provide access to their private online systems, including Facebook, e-mail and other online storage. In recent weeks, news reports have highlighted instances around the country where employers have demanded the Facebook passwords of job applicants as part of the hiring process. Last week, Klobuchar met with businesses, employment law experts, and students to discuss how to protect employee privacy in the digital age.
Klobuchar serves on both the Senate Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over telecommunications issues, and the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has authority over privacy issues.