Federal lawmakers outline plan to expand digital privacy nationwide

WASHINGTON — Did you know where you live determines whether your personal data is protected online? Some states offer more protection than others.


But now, for the first time, there’s a bipartisan proposal to expand digital privacy with one national standard.

Senator Maria Cantwell (D) and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R) are leading this effort known as the American Privacy Rights Act. It would grant Americans the right to digital privacy and would limit what data companies can collect, keep, and use.

“They can’t just collect our data, ostensibly for one reason, because we’re buying a product, and then turn around and sell that data or otherwise use it for purposes that we didn’t expect,” said Samir Jain, Vice President of Policy at the Center for Democracy & Technology.

Samir Jain works at Center for Democracy & Technology. He said this proposal includes lots of consumer protections like preventing companies from using your personal information to discriminate against you. It would also allow you to opt out of targeted advertising.

“And that would be particularly true for what’s called sensitive data so our biometric data or health data couldn’t be used to target ads,” said Jain.

The Washington News Bureau also reached out to tech industry group, NetChoice which represents several companies like Google, Meta, Yahoo, and X.

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NetChoice leaders are encouraged by the proposal.

NetChoice is encouraged to see that Congress is putting a national privacy standard back on its agenda, and we applaud Chair Rodgers and Cantwell’s leadership on this issue. We look forward to engaging with Members in both chambers to ensure the legislation gets privacy protections right for all Americans and isn’t overly burdensome on small businesses trying to compete in the digital marketplace. This is a good step to put essential conversations about a U.S. national privacy standard back on the table,” said Carl Szabo, NetChoice Vice President & General Counsel in a written statement.

The lawmakers behind this bill are also calling for more accountability. This proposal would require companies to use strong security standards to help prevent hacks.

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