State and federal lawmakers have pushed for privacy laws after myriad online breaches and scandals. Now, saying the United States faces a “crisis,” advocacy groups are going a step further and calling for a new data protection agency.
“The U.S. needs a federal agency focused on privacy protection, compliance with data protection obligations, and emerging privacy challenges,” an alliance of more than a dozen groups — including Bay Area-based Color of Change, Center for Media Justice and Berkeley Media Studies group — said Thursday. They said the agency, unlike the Federal Trade Commission, should have rule-making authority.
“Digital giants invade our private lives, spy on our families, and gather our most intimate facts for profit,” the groups said in the proposal.
“Each innovation – whether it’s talking home assistants, new social media tools or software for schools – is designed to spy on families and children,” said Josh Golin, executive director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, one of the groups in the alliance, in a statement.
Sixteen groups launched the effort. They also include the Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Federation of America, Electronic Privacy Information Center, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and Public Citizen.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, is one lawmaker who has called for stricter oversight of companies such as Facebook.
“This framework provides valuable ideas to end the cycle of data misuse and exposure,” Blumenthal said in a statement. “Congress must act now to establish enforceable limits to stop the secretive and unaccountable exploitation of private information. I look forward taking these principles into account as I work to introduce bipartisan privacy legislation this year.”
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