Federal Data- The COPRA legislation would provide GDPR-like data protections, and create a new FTC enforcement bureau.
A new digital privacy bill has been introduced to the the Senate, which would give the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) more teeth when it comes to providing oversight on tech companies’ use of consumer data.
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), ranking member on the Senate Commerce Committee, led the Democratic charge on the bill, dubbed the Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act (COPRA). It would provide U.S. citizens the same kinds of privacy rights that E.U. citizens have under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Specifically, the bill would give data subjects the right to request which data companies are housing and ask for that data to be deleted or corrected. It would also require explicit consent for companies to collect and share sensitive data. Lastly, it would stipulate that companies must not collect more information than they reasonably need to carry out the specific services consumers have signed up for.
Further, CEOs of major data-collecting companies would have to annually certify to the FTC that they have “adequate internal controls” and reporting structures to comply with the law.
“In the growing online world, consumers deserve two things: privacy rights and a strong law to enforce them,” Cantwell said in a statement. “They should be like your Miranda rights — clear as a bell as to what they are and what constitutes a violation.”
Also, the bill provides for a new FTC bureau to be established to enforce these digital privacy rights with steeper fines. The commission recently levied privacy settlements on Facebook ($5 billion) and Google’s YouTube ($170 million), which detractors said were too low to promote better behavior. COPRA dictates that the enforcement bureau be fully staffed and operational within two years of the act becoming law.
COPRA also opens the door for private-citizen lawsuits against tech companies over data collection. Republican pushback on the litigation provision is expected to be on the docket at a December hearing.