Facebook, Google and other online companies would be required to obtain consumers' explicit consent to use or share their personal information, under a proposed bill introduced Tuesday by Senators Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut).
"The avalanche of privacy violations by Facebook and other online companies has reached a critical threshold, and we need legislation that makes consent the law of the land," Markey stated. "Voluntary standards are not enough; we need rules on the books that all online companies abide by that protect Americans and ensure accountability."
The CONSENT (Customer Online Notification for Stopping Edge-provider Network Transgressions) Act would also require web companies to develop "reasonable" security practices and to notify users about data breaches.
The lawmakers unveiled the bill hours before Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified to the U.S. Senate about privacy, including practices that resulted in President Trump's consultancy, Cambridge Analytica, obtaining data about millions of Facebook users.
Markey has long advocated for tougher privacy standards. Last year, he and Blumenthal were among a group of senators who introduced a bill that would have given consumers the right to prevent their information from being sold by data brokers for marketing purposes.