WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Kennedy (R-LA) announced today that they will introduce 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. Specifically, the proposed legislation will:
- 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.
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. Senators Klobuchar and Kennedy’s legislation would protect the privacy of consumers’ online data.
“Social media and other online companies are profiting off the data of Americans—their online behavior, personal messages, contact and personal information, and more—all while leaving consumers in the dark,” Senator Klobuchar said. “Consumers have the right to know if their personal information is being sold and they have the right to easily see what data has already been sold or distributed. And most importantly, consumers should have the right to keep their information private, be alerted when a data breach has occurred, and be informed of the remedies available to them when their personal information is compromised. The digital space can’t keep operating like the Wild Wild West at the expense of our privacy.”
“The data breach at Facebook showed the world that the digital promised land is not all milk and honey. We’ve discovered some impurities in the punch bowl,” Senator Kennedy said. “I don’t want to regulate Facebook half to death, but there are things that need to be changed. Our bill will help protect Americans’ online data fingerprint.”
In October, Klobuchar introduced the Honest Ads Act with U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, and U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, 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.