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Dem Lawmaker Reintroduces Bills to Enhance Digital Privacy

Rep. Hank Johnson, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, recently reintroduced two pieces of legislation to protect Americans’ digital privacy.

Johnson introduced the bipartisan Application Privacy, Protection and Security (APPS) Act of 2020 and the Data Broker Transparency and Accountability Act of 2020.

The Georgia lawmaker said in a May 1 statement that as more people access the internet through mobile devices, the greater the need for basic federal rules governing collection and use of consumers’ data that promote transparency and consumer control in the collection and use of data on mobile devices.

“In the age of coronavirus, most people would agree that our biggest priority is to stop the spread of the disease,” Johnson said. “Consumers access the internet through mobile devices now more than ever, critically to learn more about testing, virus tracing, isolation guidelines and treatment. The private sector is stepping up to meet this challenge as well — Google and Apple recently announced that they are teaming up to roll out a digital contact tracing app. While promising, these endeavors also raise uncomfortable questions about privacy and data security. There must be a balance among big data, consumer privacy, and civil liberties.”

The APPS Act, which would also require developers to create a data retention policy that notifies the user how long data is stored, encourages responsible data-collection practices from developers and contains a safe harbor for companies that comply with reasonable data collection standards.

The DATA Act will give consumers more access and control by ensuring the right to make sure data brokers’ information is accurate. The DATA Act also grants consumers the right to access personal data that is collected, dispute or correct any inaccuracies, and stop data brokers from using, sharing, or selling their data for marketing purposes.

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