As Facebook CEO Zuckerberg Testifies to Congress, Senators Markey and Blumenthal Introduce Privacy Bill of Rights

Washington (April 10, 2018) – With Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifying today in front of a joint hearing in the U.S. Senate, Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) today introduced a privacy bill of rights to protect the personal information of American consumers. In the wake of the revelation that more than 87 million Facebook users’ private information was used by the firm Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm that worked with the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, the Senators introduced the Customer Online Notification for Stopping Edge-provider Network Transgressions (CONSENT) Act, legislation that would require the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to establish privacy protections for customers of online edge providers like Facebook and Google. In the last few years, Americans have suffered countless data privacy breaches impacting hundreds of millions of consumers.

 

“America deserves a privacy bill of rights that puts consumers, not corporations, in control of their personal, sensitive information,” said Senator Markey. “The avalanche of privacy violations by Facebook and other online companies has reached a critical threshold, and we need legislation that makes consent the law of the land. Voluntary standards are not enough; we need rules on the books that all online companies abide by that protect Americans and ensure accountability. I thank Senator Blumenthal for his partnership and look forward to working with my colleagues on a bipartisan basis to pass the long-overdue privacy bill of rights.”

 

“The startling consumer abuses by Facebook and other tech giants necessitate swift legislative action rather than overdue apologies and hand-wringing,” said Senator Blumenthal. “Our privacy bill of rights is built on a simple philosophy that will return autonomy to consumers: affirmative informed consent. Consumers deserve the opportunity to opt in to services that might mine and sell their data – not to find out their personal information has been exploited years later.”

 

A copy of the CONSENT Act can be found HERE.

 

Specifically, the CONSENT Act:

  • Requires edge providers to obtain opt-in consent from users to use, share, or sell users’ personal information
  • Requires edge providers to develop reasonable data security practices
  • Requires edge providers to notify users about all collection, use, and sharing of users’ personal information
  • Requires edge providers to notify users in the event of a breach
  • Requirements are enforced by the FTC

 

Last month, Senators Markey and Blumenthal sent a letter to Facebook asking a series of questions regarding Facebook’s involvement in the collection of its users’ personal data and requesting that he testify on the matter before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

 

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