#Privacy: New privacy bill could strengthen FTC’s ability to enforce digital privacy protections

A new privacy bill would provide citizens the right to request that their personal data be deleted from company records.

Introduced by Senator Maria Cantwell, the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee, the Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act (COPRA) will provide US consumers with foundational data privacy rights, create strong oversight mechanisms and establish meaningful enforcement.

“In the growing online world, consumers deserve two things: privacy rights and a strong law to enforce them,” Cantwell said. “They should be like your Miranda rights – clear as a bell as to what they are and what constitutes a violation.”

The bill resembles the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation passed in 2016. COPRA would grant consumers the rights to request their information from companies and for their data to be amended or deleted.

Under section 103 of the bill, if a company receives a request for data-deletion from an individual user, they would have to delete all personal information that was collected, and inform any third parties or service providers about the deletion request.

COPRA would also require companies to get permission before collecting and sharing sensitive data, including biometric information and precise locations.

Furthermore, if passed, the bill would make it easier for individuals to bring legal action against companies that are violating the privacy laws. 

The bill would also create a new bureau within the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to handle digital privacy enforcement. 

Senator Amy Klobuchar, presidential candidate and sponsor for the bill; said:

“Companies continue to profit off of the personal data they collect from Americans, but they leave consumers completely in the dark about how their personal information is being used.

“It’s time for Congress to pass comprehensive privacy legislation.”

The bill is to be discussed at the Commerce Committee hearing in December.

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