Sen. Sherrod Brown, the top Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee, yesterday released a draft of a privacy bill that would hold the chief executives and boards of directors of companies criminally and civilly liable should any provisions of the legislation be violated.
A copy of the Data Accountability and Transparency Act of 2020 is available by clicking here.
Among the requirements under Sen. Brown’s proposed legislation are:
- Ban the collection, use or sharing of personal data unless specifically allowed by law
- Ban the use of facial recognition technology
- Prohibit the use of personal data to discriminate in housing, employment, credit, insurance, and public accommodations;
- Require anyone using decision-making algorithms to provide new accountability reports
- Create a new, independent agency that is dedicated to protecting individuals’ privacy and the implementation of DATA 2020. The new agency will have rulemaking, supervisory, and enforcement authority, the ability to issue civil penalties for violations of the Act, and a dedicated Office of Civil Rights to protect individuals from discrimination
- Empower individuals and state attorneys general to enforce privacy protections and does not preempt more protective state laws
- Require CEOs to sign a certification of compliance
- Contains potential criminal and civil penalties for CEOs and Boards of Directors
“Right now, we do not protect people’s privacy – that means we don’t protect their civil rights,” Sen. Brown said in a statement. “We need legislation now more than ever that empowers Americans to control their personal information. No person should have to worry about being spied on, just like no one should worry about their information being bought and sold or stolen. My proposal would change the fundamental framework of privacy in this country. This is long overdue, Americans need and deserve to know that their personal information is safe now and in the future.”
A number of members of Congress have attempted in recent months to enact privacy legislation, but none of them ever came close to getting a vote in either the Senate or the House of Representatives. It remains to be seen whether Sen. Brown’s bill, introduced during a global pandemic five months before election day, will obtain enough momentum to move forward. A number of states, most notably California, have enacted privacy legislation that has raised a number of concerns and compliance issues for companies in the credit and collection industry.