WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), John Kennedy (R-LA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Richard Burr (R-NC) reintroduced the Social Media Privacy Protection and Consumer Rights Act to protect the privacy of consumers’ online data.

As online platforms capture user behavior and personal data for advertising purposes, this bill aims to enhance data privacy protections by ensuring companies give consumers control over how their personal data is being used. Specifically, the bill would give the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general the tools they need to hold big tech companies accountable for misuse of consumers’ data. The bill would also increase transparency and require companies to have privacy security programs. 

“For too long companies have profited off of Americans’ online data while consumers have been left in the dark,” Senator Klobuchar said. “This legislation will protect and empower consumers by allowing them to make choices about how companies use their data and inform them of how they can protect personal information.”

“The right to privacy does not evaporate when someone logs on to their social media profile. Social media companies have a duty to protect their users’ data and to offer quick solutions when a breach occurs. The Social Media Privacy Protection and Consumer Rights Act would strengthen users’ control over their own data and better protect their privacy, and I’m thankful to partner with Sen. Klobuchar on this front,” Senator Kennedy said.

“Americans deserve the right to decide who has access to their data and private information. Social media companies currently collect consumers’ data without their knowledge and then sell that information to advertisers or third parties. We must hold social media companies accountable and ensure the companies are being transparent with individuals about what data they are collecting,” Senator Manchin said. “I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support our bipartisan, commonsense legislation to protect the privacy of consumers’ data.”

“In today’s world, ownership and agency over one’s internet data is essential in protecting users’ privacy online,” Senator Burr said. “This bipartisan legislation is a commonsense step in granting individuals a greater ownership over the type of information companies may collect on them.”

The Social Media Privacy Protection 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; and
  • Require that online platforms have a privacy program in place.

As a member of the Senate Commerce Committee and Chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights, Klobuchar has been a leader in the fight to protect consumers’ data and prevent online fraud.

In February, Klobuchar and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AL) reintroduced the Protecting Personal Health Data Act to protect consumers’ private health data by requiring the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to promulgate regulations for new health technologies such as health apps, wearable devices, and direct-to-consumer genetic testing kits that are not regulated by existing laws.

In December 2019, Klobuchar joined Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and fellow Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Ed Markey (D-MA) in unveiling comprehensive federal online privacy legislation to establish digital rules of the road that companies must follow. The Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act (COPRA) gives Americans control over their personal data; prohibits companies from using consumers’ data to harm or deceive them; establishes strict standards for the collection, use, sharing, and protection of consumer data; protects civil rights; and penalizes companies that fail to meet data protection standards.

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