Calif. Dems Introduce Wide-Ranging Privacy Bill Aimed to Be Tougher than CCPA

A pair of California Congresswomen have introduced a bill that aims to take the California Consumer Privacy Act, make it more comprehensive, and apply it nationally.

Rep. Anna Eshoo [D-Calif.] and Rep. Zoe Lofgren [D-Calif.] yesterday introduced the Online Privacy Act, H.R. 4978.

Similar to what is included in the CCPA, the Online Privacy Act would give individuals the right to access their personal information that is stored by companies and have that information deleted, upon request.

The bill would also call for the creation of a new federal agency, the Digital Privacy Agency, which would be tasked with enforcing privacy protections and investigating potential abuses. The DPA would be funded with enough money to support 1,600 employees, putting it on par with the size of the Federal Communications Commission.

“I believe that the FTC lacks the staff, the expertise and the culture to take [this on],” Rep. Eshoo said. “This is a monumental task of protecting privacy.”

By design, the Online Privacy Act is intended to be stronger than the CCPA, Rep. Eshoo said.

“This bill is stronger than the California law,” Rep. Eshoo said in a call with reporters on Tuesday. “This would be the standard for the United States and it would provide the kind of uniformity that I think everyone is looking for without preemption because it is the broadest bill.”

Companies would be limited in terms of how much data they would be allowed to collect about individuals, and would be barred from selling or disclosing that information unless they received explicit permission from the individual.

Individuals would also have to provide consent for having their data used in machine learning or artificial intelligence algorithms, and choose for how long their data is kept.

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