It is no secret that Americans are hypersensitive about their privacy. In fact, in one of our previous articles discussing Incognito Mode for browsers, it was noted that privacy legislation received an overwhelming amount of support, regardless of political affiliation. Bearing this in mind, it is no surprise that there is such legislation up for debate in Congress.
According to the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), there are a variety of federal bills pertaining to privacy that, if implemented, would greatly influence how organizations handle personal data and the individual rights of their consumers. Such bills, existing in either the House of Representatives, Senate, or both, are:
Supports research grants for privacy-enhancing technology.
Prevents law enforcement and intelligence agencies from “obtaining subscriber or customer records in exchange for anything of value.”
Requires the Federal Trade Commission to review and potentially revise its current privacy standards to be sufficient in protecting consumers’ financial information from cyberattacks.
Requires privacy policies to be more transparent in their wording, as well as imposes transparency requirements, and mandates biannual privacy audits.
Forces online service providers to be more responsible in their handling of identifying a user’s data, as well as securing it from unauthorized access, and preventing harm.
Provides consumers with rights to access, correct, and delete data; requires businesses to implement data security programs, and prohibits collection without the consumers’ consent.
Grants consumers the right to opt-out of data collection and tracking, provides users with the right to access, requires more transparent Terms of Service agreements, as well as mandates establishment of privacy and security programs.
Every single one of these bills has the potential to greatly improve the average consumer’s privacy online, whether it be through optional services or through tighter restrictions on organizations. However, nothing is set in stone. It takes an extremely long time to get legislation passed on a federal level, and the implementation of such laws can take even longer. This leaves one question remaining - what laws are currently in place to protect your privacy online?
Fortunately, there are currently laws in place at both a federal and state level. For more in-depth information, you can read about it in our article here.
In addition to this, the IAPP also points out that there are a few other states that currently have their own privacy pending in committee. Such states are:
Overall, this is only a small handful of the 50 states within the Union, meaning that there is still much work to be done regarding privacy legislation. However, given the amount of federal bills being proposed in the House of Representatives and the Senate, there is reason to believe that there is a chance such laws could be implemented, ultimately providing immense benefits to the average consumer.