Senators Introduce New Privacy Bill To Protect User Data

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A quartet of lawmakers has reintroduced a bill to protect the privacy of people whose data is collected by big technology companies such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter.

The law, known as the Social Media Protection and Consumer Rights Act, backed by Sens. Amy Klobuchar, John Kennedy, Joe Manchin, and Richard Burr, forces companies to allow people to opt out of tracking and collection.

Social media companies have come under fire for their market power, data collection, and questionable privacy practices, and Congress is conducting several hearings on the issue.

The bill makes several changes to the way social media companies handle user data: on the one hand, they must give consumers the option to opt out of data collection.

In reality, this is more difficult to implement.

Facebook users, for example, may have difficulty accessing their accounts if they choose not to be tracked.

Privacy policies today often consist of long paragraphs filled with legal jargon.

This makes the directives less accessible to the ordinary user, who could be eliminated by excessive legalization, and the legislative proposal aims to reform this, including an appropriate length of the data protection directives.

Users who choose to close their accounts should have all account-related data deleted by tech companies within 30 days.

The bill also sets out what companies should do if they suffer a data breach.

Within 72 hours of an infringement, a company must inform its users of the incident, remind them of the possibility of logging in or closing their account, allow them to request the deletion of their data, and provide users with a complete copy of the data collected with a list of third parties who have also used the data.

The bill has received support from a number of groups, including social media.

If enacted, it will be enforced by the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general.

For more information, read the original story in Arstechnica.

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