Mandatory opt-out, data breach notification part of new privacy bill

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), during a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing on Jan. 21, 2021.

Enlarge / Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), during a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing on Jan. 21, 2021. (credit: Stefani Reynolds – pool | Getty Images)

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and a trio of her colleagues have reintroduced a bill to protect people’s privacy when their data is collected by big tech companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Google.

Klobuchar originally proposed the bill in 2018 with Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) and again in 2019 when the Senate was under Republican control. The legislation, known as the Social Media Privacy Protection and Consumer Rights Act, would compel companies to allow people to opt out of tracking and collection. The Verge first reported the latest reintroduction.

The bill didn’t get any traction the first two times it was introduced, though plenty has changed in the last few years. Social media companies have come under greater scrutiny due to their market power, data collection, and privacy practices, and Congress has held several hearings to question big-tech firms on these issues. Perhaps reflective of the shift, the bill today has three co-sponsors: Kennedy returns, and Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) are new.

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