FTC Urged To Pass Privacy Rules, Require Companies To Obtain Consumers' Consent

Nine Democratic U.S. senators are urging the Federal Trade Commission to pass privacy rules that could require companies to obtain consumers' explicit consent before using their personal data.

“Consumer privacy has become a consumer crisis,” Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) and others say in a letter sent Monday to FTC Chair Lina Khan. “We believe that a national standard for data privacy and security is urgently needed to protect consumers, reinforce civil rights, and safeguard our nation’s cybersecurity.”

Other signatories are Senators Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Ron Wyden (Oregon), Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts), Christopher Coons (Delware), Ben Ray Lujan (New Mexico), Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota), Cory Booker (New Jersey) and Ed Markey (Massachusetts).

“Big Tech companies have used their unchecked access to private personal information to create in-depth profiles about nearly all Americans and to protect their market position against competition from startups,” the lawmakers write. “Americans' identities have become the currency in an unregulated, hidden economy of data brokers that buy and sell sensitive information about their families, religious beliefs, healthcare needs, and every movement to shadowy interests, often without their awareness and consent.”



The lawmakers are specifically urging the FTC to begin the process of crafting new regulations that would include “strong protections for the data of members of marginalized communities, prohibitions on certain practices (such as the exploitative targeting of children and teens), opt-in consent rules on use of personal data, and global opt-out standards.”

The letter specifically cites the Global Privacy Control as an example of a global opt-out standard.

That tool was developed by privacy advocates as a universal mechanism for California residents to communicate that they don't want their data sold.

California residents have the right to prevent the sale of their data, and regulations issued by the state attorney general require companies to comply with do-not-sell requests sent through that tool.

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