Four Senate Democrats have re-introduced a bill that would enable consumers to wield control over how information about them is used by data brokers. The Data Broker Accountability and Transparency Act (S. 668) empowers consumers to stop the use and sale of their personal information by data brokers. The measure also allows consumers to correct information held by data brokers, which the bill defines as companies that collect personal information in order to sell it to third parties.
Sens. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) introduced the measure. Peggy Hudson, senior vice president of government affairs for the Direct Marketing Association, says the organization opposes the bill. “It stifles the responsible use of data,” she says. “It stifles innovation and hurts consumers.”
The advocacy groups Consumer Watchdog, Center for Digital Democracy and U.S. Public Interest Research Group are backing the proposal, which is similar to one introduced last year by Markey and former Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.).
The current proposal comes less than one week after the White House floated a potential consumer privacy “bill of rights.” That measure has drawn criticism from industry representatives, who say it is unnecessary, as well as privacy advocates, who say the proposal doesn’t adequately protect privacy.