According to the Associated Press, the United States is moving towards legal action to better protect consumers’ data.
If created, this law, which would crack down large tech companies’ ability to harvest and make money off of consumers’ data, would be the first of its kind. Instead of having free access to consumers’ information, companies would need to ask for permission for access, which could potentially cut profits made by making that data available to advertisers.
Lawmakers, including the Trump administration, are showing support to “lessen the domination” of large tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon, the Associate Press says.
In addition to pushing for legislation surrounding data privacy, lawmakers are also considering restoring Obama-era rules that barred internet providers, including AT&T and Verizon “from discriminating against certain technologies and services.” Other politicians are proposing punishment for data abusers in the big tech space; for example, Senator Elizabeth Warren recently introduced a bill to charge company executives with criminal activity when personal data is breached.
The Associate Press suggests that a push for a national law to restrict big tech companies’ access to consumers’ data was inspired by California and the European Union. The state recently passed a privacy law that “will allow Californians to see the personal data being collected on them and where it’s being distributed and to forbid the sale of it.” Consumers will also be able to request that their personal information be deleted.
Similarly, a “privacy shield” law was passed in the European Union, which covers how tech companies handle personal data. If violations are detected by watchdogs, penalties are issued, the Associated Press says. “EU regulators recently fined Google $1.7 billion for freezing out rivals in the online ad business — their third penalty against the search giant in two years. The EU watchdogs have also ordered Apple and Amazon to pay back taxes and fined Facebook for providing misleading information in its acquisition of WhatsApp.”
Based on these examples of legislation protecting consumers’ privacy, industry experts expect to see movement on a federal law in the near future.
“I think it’s likely we are going to pass a national privacy law by the end of 2020,” David Hoffman, Intel’s associate general counsel and global privacy officer, said in an interview.