Quantcast
Connect with us

Democrats’ new online privacy bill heralded as chance to build ‘alternative road to a digital future’

Published

on

“This legislation is a game-changer,” says Harvard professor Shoshana Zuboff, whose latest book warns of “surveillance capitalism.”

Backed by progressive privacy advocates, a pair of California House Democrats who represent Silicon Valley introduced sweeping legislation on Tuesday that aims to strengthen online user protections and increase accountability for major technology companies—in part by creating a new federal agency.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Our legislation ensures that every American has control over their own data, companies are held accountable, and the government provides tough but fair oversight.”
—Rep. Anna Eshoo

The Online Privacy Act of 2019, H.R. 4978 (pdf), is sponsored by Reps. Anna Eshoo and Zoe Lofgren.

“Our country urgently needs a legal framework to protect consumers from the ever-growing data-collection and data-sharing industries that make billions annually off Americans’ personal information,” said Lofgren. “The Online Privacy Act creates a robust framework that balances the actual needs of businesses with fair privacy rights and expectations for users.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The new legislation is now ranked #1 by Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) among all the privacy bills currently pending in Congress.

“The bill by Reps. Eshoo and Lofgren sets out strong rights for Internet users, promotes innovation, and establishes a Data Protection Agency,” said EPIC policy director Caitriona Fitzgerald. “This is the bill that Congress should enact.”

Specifically, as a joint statement from the congresswomen detailed, the bill “protects individuals, encourages innovation, and restores trust in technology companies” by doing the following:

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Creating User Rights – The bill grants every American the right to access, correct, or delete their data. It also creates new rights, like the right to impermanence, which lets users decide how long companies can keep their data.
  • Placing Clear Obligations on Companies – The bill minimizes the amount of data companies collect, process, disclose, and maintain, and bars companies from using data in discriminatory ways. Additionally, companies must receive consent from users in plain, simple language.
  • Establishing a Digital Privacy Agency (DPA) – The bill establishes an independent agency led by a director that’s appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate for a five-year term. The DPA will enforce privacy protections and investigate abuses.
  • Strengthening Enforcement – The bill empowers state attorneys general to enforce violations of the bill and allows individuals to appoint nonprofits to represent them in private class action lawsuits.

“Every American is vulnerable to privacy violations with few tools to defend themselves,” said Eshoo. “Our legislation ensures that every American has control over their own data, companies are held accountable, and the government provides tough but fair oversight.”

According to a fact sheet (pdf) from the sponsors, the bill also includes protections for journalists and creates an Open Source Machine Learning Training Data Grant Program.

ADVERTISEMENT

“This legislation helps to define a new era in our nation and around the world as citizens seek an alternative road to a digital future, one that is compatible with the rights of individuals and the aspirations of a democratic society.”
—Shoshana Zuboff, professor and author

Shoshana Zuboff, professor emerita at Harvard Business School and author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, welcomed Eshoo and Lofgren’s proposal, calling it “a significant milestone as lawmakers around the world take critical aim at the surveillance-based economics that now dominate the Internet.”

“This legislation is a game-changer in several key ways,” Zuboff said in the lawmakers’ statement. “First, it reframes the privacy debate from the notoriously flawed regime of ‘notice and consent’ to the human rights of users.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“Also, the act establishes a long overdue Digital Privacy Agency with important new investigatory, legal, and law enforcement powers,” she explained. “This legislation helps to define a new era in our nation and around the world as citizens seek an alternative road to a digital future, one that is compatible with the rights of individuals and the aspirations of a democratic society.”

Free Press Action senior policy counsel Gaurav Laroia declared Tuesday that the bill “marks a major moment in the ongoing legislative debate around consumer privacy.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“Misuses of private information chill free expression, cause reputational harms, inflict harmful price discrimination, and create other adverse impacts to people’s civil rights,” Laroia added in a statement. “Many of these data practices have disproportionate impacts on people of color, women, the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants, religious minorities, and other marginalized groups.”

“It’s far past time,” Laroia concluded, “for the United States to adopt privacy regulations that protect people’s rights and give individuals—not corporations—control over how personal data is used.”

by

Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Former acting CIA director explains why Trump’s inaction on Russian bounty scandal will make things worse

Published

on

It was revealed nearly two weeks ago that the Russian government is paying a bounty to the Taliban for killing American soldiers.

Since then, President Donald Trump has denied that he and his administration didn't know anything about it. Then he claimed it was a hoax. Now it has become clear that the stories are not only true but that if Trump read his presidential daily briefing in 2019, he would have been aware of the problem.

Speaking to the House Thursday, Trump's former acting CIA director Michael Morell explained that things are being made far worse by the president's denial.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Here are 7 hilarious videos about wearing COVID-19 masks to send people who won’t wear them

Published

on

While late-night shows are off for a Summer break, Americans are glued to TikTok and Twitter for their humor and every folks have delivered.

The latest trend is to mock fools who refuse to wear masks. While many people who refuse to wear a mask tuck their tails and sulk as they walk away, some take it to a whole new level of fury. Those precious souls are being mocked and shamed all around the world.

Here are seven videos that are hilarious or adorable that encourage wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Wearing a mask is like wearing a lifejacket.https://twitter.com/mattbooshell/status/1280933495674732544

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Trump tells Fox News the ‘Black Lives Matter’ sign on Fifth Avenue is like he’s being ‘prosecuted’

Published

on

President Donald Trump appeared to reveal another quid pro quo during an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity.

MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell pointed it out during an interview with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA).

"I was very nice to Mayor de Blasio. I got him ventilators when he needed them... I got him the gowns. I got him the masks. I got him everything. Then he throws a big Black Lives Matter sign right down in the middle of Fifth Avenue. I was so good to him and to Gov. Cuomo, like nobody's ever been good. And then all you end up doing out of that place is getting prosecuted."

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image