Updated: Jun 15
U.S. Senator Roger Wicker and Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn announced the SAFE DATA Act (Senate Bill #233) on July 28, 2021. This Act will allow Americans more choice and control over their personal data, as well as demand businesses to be transparent and accountable in how they use collected audience data.
The bill would expand current FTC (Federal Trade Commission) authority, under unfair or deceptive business practices laws and provide additional resources to enforce the new requirements outlined in the act.
With the recent increase in cyberattacks on our nation’s critical infrastructure, and the ongoing efforts to expand internet services to every American, it’s important that we make protecting the privacy of all Americans a high priority.
Organizations risk losing American consumers’ confidence in the internet marketplace and undermining our national security and technological leadership abroad without a federal privacy law.
The bill will provide consumers with much-needed protections while ensuring innovation and competition remain foundational principles to our economic advancements.
Wicker comments “That we need to carefully review the pros and cons of our web privacy laws in order to expel any possible flaws or loopholes. He asserts that while it’s crucial to appropriately balance these principles, laws should be in place for all Americans so there is unification across the country.”
The Federal Trade Commission
The Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act) protects consumers from unfair commercial practices by regulating commercial entities that are under its authority.
The FTC does not explicitly suggest or require the inclusion of specific information in website privacy policies. Although, it does regulate various aspects of these policies through its mandates and various forms of enforcement action.
Closing the Data Privacy Gap with Transparency
It is vital that businesses provide more privacy and data protection online. Companies should be clear about what information they are collecting, and how the information will be used.
Companies will need to consider how consent will be obtained from consumers for the collection of data for advertising purposes. Businesses should collect no more data than what is necessary for their business functions.
Businesses should also retain and dispose of collected personal and sensitive information securely.
Making use of transparent business practices can help businesses build and maintain consumers' trust longer, which leads to long-term value creation.
Find, Extract and Control Your Data
Private information was never meant to be public, even online. Our online world is wrought with personal information being thrown around by hackers, marketers, and other people who just don’t understand the importance of having private information shared among consenting adults.
We need greater transparency in this industry regarding the collection and sharing of users’ data. Especially the companies that are not obtaining individual consent first.
This must be done while keeping privacy a viable option for users. The user should know everything that is being collected and the uses of the collected information. Therefore, they will be able to make an educated decision before using a product. Currently, users have no idea how their data is being used... It’s crazy we ever let it get to this point!
A Privacy Shield for the 21st Century.
The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) needs to share information with all other government agencies that are involved in consumer protection, including state and federal authorities like the CDC, FBI, or FDA.
If the FTC obtains the information that a business or organization has processed or transferred consumer data in a way that violates Federal anti-discrimination laws, then they will have to report it to the proper authorities.
In turn, this will expand the FTC’s authority to oversee the data use practices of common carriers and nonprofit organizations.
The FTC will have to certify proof to the authorities with a proven track record of the organization's violations.
Regardless of whether or not federal privacy legislation passes in 2021, data protection and privacy laws are likely to continue shifting for years to come.
Many states are already passing their own data laws, and these laws could be difficult to navigate for companies that operate across state lines. It’s important for businesses to stay abreast of the latest privacy developments.
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