Federal Data Privacy Bill Introduced in the Senate

Privacy

A group of fifteen U.S. Senators have introduced a federal privacy bill called the Data Care Act, which has set its sights on the implementation of nationwide privacy standards that would apply to websites, apps, and online content providers. The goal: safeguard consumer data.

“People have a basic expectation that the personal information they provide to websites and apps is well-protected and won’t be used against them,” said Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) who spearheaded the bill. “Just as doctors and lawyers are expected to protect the personal data they hold and not misuse it, online companies should be required to do the same.”

The Data Care Act would require a set of duties for online providers, including:

  • Duty of Care: Online providers would be required to secure user data from unauthorized access, and inform users of any breach of personal information.
  • Duty of Loyalty: Online providers would not be able to use “individual identifying data” in a way that would be detrimental to an end user, cause physical or financial harm, or would be “highly offensive to a reasonable end user.”
  • Duty of Confidentiality: Online providers would be required to ensure that the duties of care and loyalty would extend to any third parties with whom user data is shared.

The duties outlined in the bill would fall under the jurisdiction of the FTC.

The bill itself has widespread support from technology companies, including the Internet Association, an advocacy organization that represents such internet heavyweights as Amazon.com, Google, Yelp, Twitter, and Facebook.

“Internet companies act as responsible stewards of people’s data and agree with Sen. Schatz that federal legislation should promote responsible data practices,” the Internet Association announced in a statement.

Read the bill here.