Silicon Valley Congresswomen React to Latest Federal Data Privacy Proposal

February 13, 2020
Press Release
Reps. Eshoo & Lofgren’s Online Privacy Act & Sen. Gillibrand’s Data Protection Act Both Create a New Federal Privacy Agency

WASHINGTON, DC— Today, Silicon Valley Congresswomen Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18) and Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), authors of the Online Privacy Act of 2019, reacted to the introduction of the Data Protection Act by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).

“Today, no one is held accountable when a consumer’s online information is stolen, abused, or grossly mishandled. This is unacceptable, and it’s the reason we introduced the Online Privacy Act to restore and protect the American people’s right to privacy.  We commend Senator Gillibrand for introducing the Data Protection Act, which like our legislation, creates a new federal agency that enforces privacy protections and investigates abuses. This independent-agency approach is an important piece of comprehensive privacy reform and allows tough but fair oversight,” said Eshoo and Lofgren.

The Online Privacy Act, H.R. 4978, 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. 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.