Legislation proposed to protect data privacy of Facebook users

  • Senators Amy Klobuchar and John Kennedy proposed legislation to protect the privacy of user data on online platforms and increase transparency about data collection practices
  • The bill has not been drafted yet, but the legislation would allow users to recourse options in case of a data breach as well as fully opt out of any data tracking or collection
  • The proposed legislation includes a mandate that will notify users of data breaches within 72 hours

Senators Amy Klobuchar and John Kennedy announced legislation designed to protect the privacy of user data on online platforms. The legislation would allow users of online platforms to fully opt out of data tracking and collection and seek recourse in case of a data breach.

Senator Kloubachar said in the joint statement, “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. The digital space can’t keep operating like the Wild Wild West at the expense of our privacy.”

Image Courtesy of The Verge

At the time of Mark Zuckerberg’s statement on April 10th, Senator Kennedy expressed his disappointment. He stated Mr Zuckerberg, I come in peace. I don’t want to vote to have to regulate Facebook, but by God, I will. In fact, a lot of that depends on you. I’m a little disappointed in this hearing today. I don’t feel like we’re connecting.”

During the hearing, Senator Kennedy commented, “Your user agreement sucks. The purpose of that user agreement is to cover Facebook’s rear end. It’s not to inform your users about their rights. Now you know that, and I know that. I’m going to suggest to you that you go back home and rewrite it.”

The Facebook Data Privacy Law proposed by both senators are similar to the one proposed by Senators Richard Blumenthal and Ed Markey was known as the CONSENT Act (Customer Online Notification for Stopping Edge-provider Network Transgressions). The CONSENT Act is much stronger in language and lays down guidelines for data usage, sharing, and collection.

According to the Verge reports, the proposed legislation focuses on seven key points. These include proper privacy programs for data protection, users being notified in case of data breaches within 72 hours, remedial solutions for data breaches, simpler service agreements, open access to control over personal data to users, making data collection and tracking optional to users and transparency about what user information is collected and shared by platforms.

It is yet to be seen if the senators’ regulations can extend to the majority of Congress with many similar proposed bills being stalled. Pending legislation includes the Honest Ads Act proposed by Senator Mark Warner and John McCain. The legislation was designed to make companies like Google and Facebook to retain copies of political ads and publicize them for all citizens. Little progress has been made despite support coming from brands like Facebook and Twitter for the Act.

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