Representative Hank Johnson (D-GA) announced today that he's introducing two bills that address digital privacy, one that specifically focuses on data privacy on mobile devices and another that would allow consumers to opt out of data collection. In a press release, he noted that the Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed how little control consumers have over their digital data and highlighted evidence that US residents want more. "Privacy is an issue that should unite us, not drive us apart," Johnson said in a statement. "We have fully entered the era of big data, and consumers access the internet through mobile devices now more than ever. It's past time our laws to reflect this reality through common sense rules for data collection, transparency and use."
The first piece of legislation, the Application Privacy, Protection and Security (APPS) Act of 2018, would require app developers to uphold their privacy policies, get consent from consumers before collecting their data and store that data securely. "Every day, more companies are looking to mobile as the future of media," Johnson said, "Bridging the 'digital divide' means building protections into the technologies that we use, and to do that, we need privacy legislation that works for us, the consumer."
Johnson is also introducing the DATA Act of 2018, which he says will offer consumers more control over their personal data and provide them with the means to stop its collection or correct information that has already been collected. "Consumers should have access to the volumes of personal data collected about them," Johnson said in a statement. "And more importantly, we should all be able to correct false information before losing access to potential employment, insurance, housing or credit opportunities."
Johnson isn't the only lawmaker looking to boost privacy protections in the US. Senators Edward Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced the CONSENT Act in April, which would require edge providers to obtain opt-in consent to use, share and sell users' personal data. Additionally, the Social Media Privacy and Consumer Rights Act of 2018, introduced by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Kennedy (R-LA), would require terms of service agreements to be written in understandable language and would give consumers the right to both opt out of data collection and see what information of theirs is being collected and shared. Meanwhile, both Vermont and California have passed their own data privacy laws.