Senator Brown Proposes Privacy Bill to Protect Consumer Data
Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) earlier this week released the Data Accountability and Transparency Act of 2020, a draft privacy bill that would allow Americans to hold the federal government, tech companies, and corporations accountable for protecting consumers’ personal data.
“Right now, we do not protect people’s privacy ⎯ that means we don’t protect their civil rights,” said Senator Brown, who serves as ranking member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. “We need legislation now more than ever that empowers Americans to control their personal information. No person should have to worry about being spied on, just like no one should worry about their information being bought and sold or stolen.”
“My proposal would change the fundamental framework of privacy in this country,” Brown continued. “This is long overdue, Americans need and deserve to know that their personal information is safe now and in the future.”
The proposed legislation does away with the ‘consent’ model that currently applies to privacy, deemed ineffective by Brown. Instead, the bill places restrictions on the collection, use, and sharing of personal data while also including civil rights measures. These measures include a ban on the use of personal data to discriminate in decisions concerning employment, housing, insurance, credit, and public accommodations, as well as a ban on using facial recognition technology.
The senator’s bill would also create an independent agency to help protect Americans’ privacy. It would have rulemaking and supervisory authority, including the ability to issue civil penalties for any violations.
“Collection of personal data has expanded dramatically over the last ten years, yet we have no comprehensive federal data protection standards,” said Caitriona Fitzgerald, Policy Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “Senator Brown’s bill creates enforceable privacy rights and limits the amount of data companies can collect and keep about us.”