On January 16th, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced the American Data Dissemination Act, a privacy bill that intends to create federal standards regarding privacy protection for tech giants like Facebook, Amazon, and Google. According to Fortune, the bill requires the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to make suggestions for regulation based on the Privacy Act of 1974. If Congress doesn’t pass legislation within two years, legislative powers will be usurped by the FTC, who under current laws is only able to enforce existing rules.
Rubio’s bill is designed to limit the data collection and sharing of companies like Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Google, and Netflix by imposing a time limit on Congressional gridlock. The bill also requires any final legislation regarding data collection and dissemination to protect small businesses from being stifled by new regulations.
“We should be cautious in balancing the legitimate privacy needs of individuals with the important contributions the Internet has made to increase our societal knowledge sharing capabilities,” wrote Rubio in an op-ed for The Hill. While we may have disagreements on the best path forward, no one believes a privacy law that only bolsters the largest companies with the resources to comply and stifles our start-up marketplace is the right approach.”
The bill raises concerns that it limits states’ abilities to create their own rules surrounding internet privacy, to which Rubio replies, “a state-by-state patchwork of laws is simply not an effective means of dealing with an issue of this magnitude.” Major internet companies agree, arguing that the complexities of internet regulations will be more effectively enforced at a blanket federal level rather than if they varied across state lines.
Democrats will only support the bill if it is as extensive as recently passed state laws like those that will be going into effect in California in 2020. Rubio’s bill reportedly has no co-sponsors, and a bipartisan group of senators is expected to soon release a separate bill regarding data collection and dissemination.