Facebook, Google and other tech giants may soon have to disclose otherwise secret details of their data-handling practices to the Federal Trade Commission, Chairman Joseph Simons recently told the Senate.
In recent years, tech companies that played fast and loose with customers' data have faced lawsuits, civil investigations by the government, and even fines by the FTC.
If the bill also clears the House, Washington will join California in regulating companies' use of personal data.
California's attorney general wants consumers to be able to sue companies that violate the privacy law, while advocates want businesses to obtain people's permission before sharing their data.
"Facebook's internal documents indicate a callous disregard for young people and a culture that prioritized profits over people," watchdogs say in a new letter to the FTC.
"California's consumers should also be able to share in the wealth that is created from their data," California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in his first State of the State address.
Three House members said Thursday they were introducing new bills that would regulate broadband.
In what's being hailed as a first, a company that sold fake followers and endorsements to celebrities and would-be influencers has settled allegations that it violated New York state laws regarding fraud and impersonation.
"The wireless industry has repeatedly demonstrated a blatant disregard for its customers' privacy," Senator Ron Wyden and 14 others write in a letter to the FCC and FTC.
As federal lawmakers gear up to tackle online privacy, a host of industry groups, tech companies and consumer advocates are weighing in with suggestions.