Senate Considering Two Data Protection Bills

June 13, 2018

Two bills have been introduced in the Senate with similar objectives as the European Union’s General Data Protection Rights (GDPR) regulation that went into effect on May 25.

The GDPR is a comprehensive consumer protection regulation, seeking to safeguard the privacy and data rights of individuals. It mandates that entities processing or using such data inform individuals what they are doing with the information.

Most businesses, including ILMA members, recently updated their internal policies and informed their European and other customers regarding the types of data they collect and how it is used to comply with the GDPR. In many instances, this necessitated an update to terms of use, privacy policies, and cookie policies for websites and other platforms (e.g., cell phone apps).

In an effort to implement a similar regulatory structure, Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) has introduced the “Customer Online Notification for Stopping Edge-Provider Network Transgressions” (CONSENT Act)(S. 2639).

The bill, if passed, requires notification from companies to individuals about the type of information that they collect, and how it is used. Additionally, the legislation instructs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to develop a comprehensive regulatory framework to implement the data protection requirements.

Separately, Sens. Amy Klobucher (D-MN) and John Kennedy (R-LA) introduced the “Social Media Protection and Consumer Rights Act of 2018” (S. 2728).

This legislation similarly seeks to protect consumer data through required updates for website terms of service and also mandates that the FTC implement a comprehensive regulatory framework. It also gives consumer the right to opt-out and keep sensitive information from public disclosure by disabling data tracking and collection and mandates any data breaches by disclosure with 72 hours.

“Consumers should have the right to keep their information private, be alerted when a data breach has occurred, and be informed of the remedies available to them when their personal information is compromised,” Sen. Klobucher said after the bill was introduced.

“The data breach at Facebook showed the world that the digital promised land is not all milk and honey. We’ve discovered some impurities in the punch bowl,” Sen. Kennedy added. “Our bill will help protect Americans’ online data fingerprint.”