Silicon Valley Congresswomen React to Biden’s State of the Union Call to Strengthen Online Privacy Protections

March 2, 2022
Press Release
Reps. Eshoo & Lofgren’s Online Privacy Act Creates Strong User Rights, Establishes a Digital Privacy Agency & Places Privacy Obligations on Companies

WASHINGTON, DC — Silicon Valley Congresswomen Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18) and Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), authors of the Online Privacy Act, applauded President Joe Biden’s call last night to strengthen privacy protections during his State of the Union Address.

“There is a rallying call for decisive action to protect Americans’ privacy, along with widespread support for the Online Privacy Act from consumer rights advocates, civil rights groups, public interest groups, privacy coalitions, nonprofits, think tanks, and academics,” said Eshoo and Lofgren. “President Biden clearly expressed what we know to be true: it’s time to prevent the abusive collection and retention of personal information online. If companies can’t collect data, they can’t use that data to manipulate Americans for profit. We encourage the Administration and our colleagues to join us in advancing the Online Privacy Act to ensure every person has control over their own data.”

In his State of the Union address, President Biden said: “As Frances Haugen, who is here with us tonight, has shown, we must hold social media platforms accountable for the national experiment they’re conducting on our children for profit. It’s time to strengthen privacy protections, ban targeted advertising to children, and demand tech companies stop collecting personal data on our children.”

Recent Action

The Committee on House Administration held a hearing on “Big Data: Privacy Risks and Needed Reforms in the Public and Private Sectors” on February 16, 2022.  In the absence of a comprehensive federal privacy framework, the Committee examined and discussed various proposals to limit privacy abuses by government and private actors. Click here to watch the hearing or read testimony from the witnesses.

About the Online Privacy Act

The Online Privacy Act, H.R. 6027, 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 Limits and 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 for a one-page summary of the Online Privacy Act.

Click here for a section-by-section summary of the Online Privacy Act.

Click here for full bill text.

Click here for a list of groups that support the Online Privacy Act and quotes from leaders.

 

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