Legislation would increase transparency by strengthening disclosure requirements, ensure the right to control one’s own data by allowing people to opt out of data collection and tracking, and require notification of a privacy violation within 72 hours
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Kennedy (R-LA) today announced privacy legislation that will protect consumers’ online data. 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. The bipartisan legislation would require companies to make privacy disclosures clearer and more transparent, give consumers the right to control their own data by allowing people to opt-out of having their data collected, and require companies to notify consumers of a privacy violation within 72 hours.
Specifically, the legislation:
- Requires terms of service agreements to be in plain language,
- Ensures users have the ability to see what information about them has already been collected and shared,
- Provides users greater access to and control over their data,
- Gives consumers the right to opt-out and keep their information private by disabling data tracking and collection,
- Mandates that users be notified of a privacy violation within 72 hours,
- Offers remedies for users when a privacy violation occurs,
- Requires that online platforms have a privacy program in place.
“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.” Senator Klobuchar said. “Consumers should have the right to control their personal data and that means allowing them to opt out of having their data collected and tracked and alerting them within 72 hours when a privacy violation occurs and their personal information may be compromised. The digital space can’t keep operating like the Wild West at the expense of our privacy.”
“I don’t want to hurt Facebook, and I don’t want to regulate them half to death, either. But I have a job to do, and that’s protecting the rights and privacy of our citizens,” Senator Kennedy said. “Our bill gives consumers more control over their private data, requires user agreements to be written in plain English and requires companies to notify users of privacy violations. These are just simple steps that online platforms should have implemented in the first place.”
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.