US lawmakers reach a bipartisan deal on data privacy legislation

Senators Cantwell and Rep. McMorris Rodgers agree on bipartisan privacy legislation aiming to restrict tech data collection, empower individuals, mandate disclosure, and enforce penalties.

 Electronics, Hardware, Computer Hardware

US Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell, chair of the Commerce Committee, and Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Republican chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, have come to an agreement across party lines regarding preliminary data privacy legislation. The primary goal of this proposed legislation is to curtail the extent to which technology firms can amass consumer data, while also empowering individuals to manage the sale or deletion of their personal information. Furthermore, the proposed legislation mandates disclosure in cases where data is transferred to foreign entities deemed adversarial.

Under the bill, both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state attorneys general would be endowed with expansive authority to supervise privacy matters and impose penalties, including allowing individuals to take legal action. While the legislation does not outright ban targeted advertising, it provides consumers with the option to decline participation, and it introduces penalties for privacy infractions applicable to both tech and telecommunications companies.

Why does it matter?

As reported by the CNN, if this proposed legislation succeeds the USA could provide equivalent protection to that of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Cantwell and Rodgers perceive this legislation as a significant stride toward establishing a comprehensive national standard for safeguarding data privacy and affording individuals greater autonomy over their personal information, as well as avenues for seeking redress in cases of privacy violations.