Senators Propose Privacy Bill of Rights

Published on April 12, 2011
by Julia Angwin

Sens. John Kerry and John McCain proposed legislation Tuesday to create a “privacy bill of rights” to protect people from the increasingly invasive commercial data-collection industry.

The bill, labeled the Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2011, would impose new rules on companies that gather personal data, including offering people access to data about them, or the ability to block the information from being distributed. Companies would have to seek permission before sharing sensitive religious, medical and financial data with outside entities.

The bipartisan proposal would create the nation’s first comprehensive privacy law and largely adopts recommendations made by the Obama Administration last year. Current laws cover only the use of certain types of personal data, such as financial and medical information.

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