Another bill has been proposed in Congress, this time from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand [D-N.Y.], to create a federal agency that would protect the data and privacy of Americans.
“Technology is connecting us in new significant ways, and our society must be equipped for both the challenges and opportunities of a transition to the digital age. As the data privacy crisis looms larger over the everyday lives of Americans, the government has a responsibility to step forward and give Americans meaningful protection over their data and how it’s being used,” said Sen. Gillibrand in a statement. “Data has been called ‘the new oil.’ Companies are rushing to explore and refine it, ignoring regulations, putting profits above responsibility, and treating consumers as little more than dollar signs. Like the oil boom, little thought is being given to the long-term consequences. The U.S. needs a new approach to privacy and data protection. We cannot allow our freedoms to be trampled over by private companies that value profits over people, and the Data Protection Agency would do that with expertise and resources to create and meaningfully enforce data protection rules and digital rights.”
Sen. Gillibrand’s proposed legislation would create the Data Protection Agency and would be charged with protecting data, safeguarding privacy, and ensuring data practices are fair and transparent. Similar to the leadership structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the DPA would be helmed by a director, appointed by the president to serve a five-year term.
Last November, a pair of California Democrats in the House of Representatives launched their own initiative to create the Digital Privacy Agency, which would perform many of the same functions proposed in Sen. Gillibrand’s bill.