Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is introducing new legislation to create a Data Protection Agency.
Senator Gillibrand makes the case that people have untold amounts of data about them scattered across the internet. Even worse, much of that data was collected without consent or, at the very least, without users knowingly agreeing to it being collected. In the digital age, that data represents a gold mine for countless companies who profit from it.
“I believe that this needs to be fixed, and that you deserve to be in control of your own data,” writes Gillibrand. “You have the right to know if companies are using your information for profit. You need a way to protect yourself, and you deserve a place that will look out for you.”
Specifically, the legislation Gillibrand is introducing, The Data Protection Act, would “establish an independent federal agency, the Data Protection Agency, that would serve as a ‘referee’ to define, arbitrate, and enforce rules to defend the protection of our personal data.”
The agency would focus on returning control of their data to Americans, support innovation while ensuring fair competition and help advise Congress of digital threats as they emerge, making sure the government is educated and prepared to meet those threats.
Gillibrand’s announcement comes amid a growing focus on privacy. Salesforce co-CEO Keith Block recently said the U.S. needed a national privacy law; the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) became law January 1; and Clearview AI has gained infamy as the company “that can end privacy.”
It remains to be seen if Gillibrand will have the necessary support to pass The Data Protection Act, but it definitely will be welcomed in many circles as a step in the right direction.