Privacy & Tech Experts Announce Support for the Online Privacy Act

February 26, 2020
Press Release
Eshoo, Lofgren Privacy Bill Receives Only ‘A’ Rating from Civil Liberties Leader

WASHINGTON, D.C.--- Today, 15 privacy and technology experts and organizations announced they support the Online Privacy Act, H.R. 4978, a bold and comprehensive reform bill authored by Silicon Valley Congresswomen Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18) and Zoe Lofgren (CA-19).

“The widespread support for the Online Privacy Act from organizations and experts is a rallying call for decisive action to protect Americans’ privacy,” Eshoo and Lofgren said. “The theft and abuse of personal data is unacceptable, and it’s well-past time to put an end to unfair business practices that deny users control over their own data. Our legislation ensures that every Americans’ right to their personal data is protected, and that the government provides tough but fair oversight.”

The following 19 privacy advocates, civil rights groups, consumer rights advocates, public interest groups, nonprofits, think tanks, academics, former senior government officials, technologists, private sector leaders, and authors now support the Online Privacy Act:

  • Consumer Federation of America
  • Consumer Action
  • Color of Change
  • National Hispanic Media Coalition
  • MediaJustice (formerly Center for Media Justice)
  • Access Now
  • Public Knowledge
  • Free Press Action
  • Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
  • Open MIC (Open Media and Information Companies Initiative)
  • Demos
  • Gigi Sohn, Distinguished Fellow at Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law and Policy, Benton Senior Fellow and Public Advocate, and former Counselor to the FCC Chairman
  • Dipayan Ghosh, Co-Director of the Digital Platforms & Democracy Project at the Harvard Kennedy School, author of Terms of Disservice (forthcoming), and former technology policy advisor at the White House
  • Shoshana Zuboff, Professor Emerita at Harvard Business School and author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism
  • Ron Rivest, co-inventor of RSA security protocol, Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Member of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
  • Joseph Turow, Professor at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania
  • Francesca Bignami, Professor at the George Washington University Law School
  • Kimberly Bryant, Founder and Executive Director of Black Girls Code
  • Chris Larsen, co-founder of Ripple Labs, Prosper Marketplace, and E-Loan and angel investor

Of the privacy bills introduced in the House and Senate, EPIC has ranked the Online Privacy Act the strongest bill and gave the bill its only ‘A’ rating.

The Online Privacy Act is sweeping legislation that creates user rights, places obligations on companies to protect users’ data, establishes a new federal agency to enforce privacy protections, and strengthens enforcement of privacy law violations. Specifically, it protects individuals, encourages innovation, and restores trust in technology companies by:

  • Creating User Rights – The bill grants every American the right to access, correct, or delete their data. It also creates new rights, like the right to impermanence, which lets users decide how long companies can keep their data.
  • Placing Clear Obligations on Companies – The bill minimizes the amount of data companies collect, process, disclose, and maintain, and bars companies from using data in discriminatory ways. Additionally, companies must receive consent from users in plain, simple language.
  • Establishing a Digital Privacy Agency (DPA) – The bill establishes an independent agency led by a Director that’s appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate for a five-year term. The DPA will enforce privacy protections and investigate abuses.
  • Strengthening Enforcement – The bill empowers state attorneys general to enforce violations of the bill and allows individuals to appoint nonprofits to represent them in private class action lawsuits.

Click here to read a one-page summary of the Online Privacy Act.

Click here to read a section-by-section breakdown of the Online Privacy Act.

Click here to download the full text of the Online Privacy Act.

###