Americans Deserve a Law Protecting Their Digital Privacy — Here’s Our Proposal

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For too long, Americans’ digital privacy has been far from guaranteed, and it is time for Congress to pass legislation providing comprehensive protections for personal information. This morning, in an effort to move the conversation forward, the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) is publishing its draft federal privacy bill.

“Privacy is a fundamental human right. Physical safety, free expression, access to justice, and economic security depend on it. Yet, under the current patchwork of privacy laws in the U.S., it is impossible for individuals to understand, let alone manage, the many ways their data is used,” said CDT President & CEO Nuala O’Connor. “It’s beyond time for Congress to act.”

CDT’s proposed federal privacy legislation is a novel approach that:

  • Puts the fundamental rights of individuals first;
  • Moves beyond the failed models of notice & choice;
  • Creates affirmative obligations for data protection;
  • Tackles civil rights issues head-on; and
  • Was developed in consultation with industry & civil society.

“For legislation to be more than a band-aid, we have to rethink the relationship between businesses and the people whose data they hold. We need to establish sensible limits on data collection, use, and sharing, so that people can entrust their data to companies without accepting unreasonable risk,” said Michelle Richardson, Director of CDT’s Privacy & Data Project.

The proposed legislation is available to view here, a section-by-section summary is available here, and a comparison of our bill with both Europe’s GDPR and California’s data privacy legislation is available here.

For further updates on CDT’s federal privacy legislation efforts, stay tuned here.

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