Senator Kirsten Gillibrand assumes Big Tech with the Data Protection Act


Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduces a revised version of his Data Protection Act, which will create a new government agency tasked with regulating and enforcing federal privacy laws – the ones we have now and even all of them. the ones we have could get in the future.

“Big Tech companies are free to sell individuals’ data to the highest bidder without fear of real consequences, posing a severe threat to modern privacy and civil rights, ”Gillibrand said in a statement. “A crisis of data confidentiality is looming over the daily lives of Americans and we need to hold these bad actors accountable.”

The bill is based on it Version 2020 in ways that seem to reflect the agenda of the Biden administration and the fact that Democrats now have control over both houses of Congress and are therefore more likely to be able to carry out that agenda. It also includes new sections dealing with antitrust and civil rights.

The Data Protection Act is not a privacy factor in itself. Rather, it creates a Data Protection Agency, whose job it would be to regulate and enforce federal data privacy laws. The project also provides for some prohibited practices of data collection and use, including those that are discriminatory or misleading, and prohibits the re-identification of users of unidentified data.

In this new version, the agency will also review the privacy implications of any mergers that include the transfer of data from at least 50,000 users – think Facebook and Instagram, but also those of data brokers such as the acquisition of BlueKai is Oracle. This review will be sent to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice to be used to determine whether to allow mergers to take place.

The Data Protection Agency would also have its own Civil Rights Office which ensures that data is not collected or used in a manner that discriminates against protected classes. Facebook allowing users placing accommodation ads that exclude certain races and ethnicities is an example of this, but there are myriad ways that the data you don’t even know they provide can be used against you – and there is no agency in charge of monitoring those violations.


Currently, the application of federal confidentiality laws generally belongs to the FTC and the state’s attorney general. This bill removes them from the FTC’s domain, and opinions are divided on whether it’s a good idea. Some believe the power should lie with an established agency that can be extended to take better care of it. The FTC he said recently it needed more people and new units to properly address privacy issues. The agency currently has only about 40 people dedicated to privacy issues on its approximately 1,100 full-time employees. Washington Rep. Privacy Policy Suzan DelBene, introduced in March, will give the FTC significantly more money and employees, which he told Recode he believes is a better way to regulate privacy than a new agency.

“There’s nothing wrong with the FTC that can’t be corrected with stronger legal authority and more resources,” Cameron Kerry, a fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Center for Technological Innovation, told Recode last March. “I think it has experience. You’re not just a new agency. I think there’s an advantage to having an agency that does that that also has competitive authority.”

But others point out that many countries have data protection authorities, and a dedicated body it is necessary considering huge businesses and the ecosystem would be regulated – data collection is, in many ways, the backbone of the internet and mobile applications. The FTC, many say, has fell short on data privacy and it’s often called “toothless” to impose fines against Big Tech companies that are essentially slapped on the pole – first crimes often neither does he deserve a fine. Even the huge ones $ 5 billion at the end the FTC handed over to Facebook for privacy violations does not appear to have struck a blow at the company’s bottom line, and it happened only because Facebook violated a 2012 agreement that required it not to pay a fine.

And Gillibrand isn’t the only lawmaker who wants an agency like this: the California Repertory. Anna Eshoo and Zoe Lofgren Online Privacy Law has requested a Digital Reservation Agency, and this project could even make a comeback of this Congress. Ohio Senate draft version Sherrod Brown of her Accountability and Data Transparency Act included a provision establishing an independent agency, and her office told Recode that it intends to introduce its own. project to this Congress. He is a sponsor of the Gillibrand bill. Meanwhile, California will soon to have its own Privacy Protection Agency.

It is not yet known where the privacy of the data will fall on the FTC’s record, now that Lina Khan is the president of the agency. Khan has become famous as a Big Tech critic and antitrust expert, and his appointment reflects that the Biden administration wants to prioritize antitrust issues, such as lawmakers on both sides and tramindui houses of Congress. Khan was a co-author of the Democratic House ‘ massive antitrust report, which has blamed Big Tech’s perceived anti-competitive practices for eroding user privacy. Data privacy will probably be a part of their agenda, but it may not be the focus.

Perhaps the biggest problem with this project is not the project itself but what the agency creating it would be able to do. While the United States has laws on privacy, almost everyone – including you and companies the laws aim – agreeing that existing regulations are not enough and do not reflect the online-centric way many people live their lives now. I just don’t agree on how to solve this problem, so federal confidentiality bills have historically gone nowhere. And it’s something that this project can’t solve.

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