Senators propose legislation to protect the privacy of users’ online data after Facebook hearing

Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Kennedy (R-LA) will present legislation to protect the privacy of users' online data, they said today in a joint statement. Although a bill has not yet been drafted, the legislation would, among other things, give users recourse options if their data is infringed and the right to opt out and collect data.

The proposed legislation will address seven key points, senators said:

  • Grant consumers the right to opt out and keep their information private by disabling tracking and data collection.
  • Provide users with greater access and control over their data.
  • Require agreements of terms of service to be written in "simple language".
  • Ensure that users can see what information about them has already been collected and shared,
  • Forcing users to be notified of a violation of their information within 72 hours.
  • Offer remedies for users when a violation occurs,
  • Requires that online platforms have a functioning privacy program.

"Consumers have a 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," Klobuchar said in the statement. "The digital space can not continue to function like the Wild West at the expense of our privacy."

Kennedy had one of the most colorful question marks during Mark Zuckerberg's testimony before the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees on April 10. "Mr. Zuckerberg, I come in peace," he said at the time. "I do not want to vote to have to regulate Facebook, but for God's sake, in fact, a lot of that depends on you, I'm a little disappointed by this audience today, I just do not feel like we connect."

Kennedy went on bluntly saying: "Your user agreement sucks … The purpose of that user agreement is to cover the back of Facebook … It's not to inform your users about your rights … Now you know it, and I know it. I'm going to suggest you go back home and rewrite it. "

The legislation proposed by the senators today has a character similar to a bill presented by Messrs. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Ed Markey (D-MA) known as the CONSENT Act (abbreviation of Online client notification to stop edge provider network transgressions). However, the CONSENT Law has a stronger language, which requires the explicit consent of users to use, share or sell any of their personal data, as well as a clear notification every time they collect, share or use data.

remains to be seen if the senators' appetite for regulation extends to the majority of Congress. Other similar bills have stalled. In October, Senator Klobuchar introduced the Honest Ads Act with Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) and Senator John McCain (R-AZ). The law would require companies such as Facebook and Google to have copies of political advertisements and make them available to the public. So far, there has been little progress in receiving an audience, although recently both Facebook and Twitter expressed their support.