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Bipartisan Bill Plans To Force Data Brokers To Delete Your Private Info When Requested

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In an era where personal data seems to be perpetually under siege, US lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have taken up the gauntlet to thwart data brokers from unfettered access to people’s private information. A rejuvenated legislative endeavor named the Data Elimination and Limiting Extensive Tracking and Exchange (DELETE) Act has been resurrected in Congress.

We obtained a copy of the bill for you here.

Reps. Lori Trahan (D-MA) and Chuck Edwards (R-NC), along with Sensators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Jon Ossoff (D-GA), have taken the lead in sponsoring this bill.

Last year, a similar proposal met its demise in Congress. However, what sets this rendition apart is its subtle evolution. The new avatar of the DELETE Act has integrated insights from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), lending it more nuance and relevance, shared a spokesperson for one of the sponsors.

What has rendered this initiative timely? An Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) report published on June 5 was akin to adding gasoline to a smoldering issue. It created a storm by revealing that government agencies have been availing commercially available data, sensitive to an extent that historically would have warranted targeted collection, with nearly ubiquitous coverage. The ODNI admitted that such practices necessitate introspection as they bear the potential to inflict harm on individuals’ reputations, emotional health, or physical safety.

The FBI admitted to buying up this type of commercial data, and has been accused by some of trying to bypass the Fourth Amendment.

Consumer protection advocates and veterans of the sector laud the reintroduction of the DELETE Act. Jessica Rich, who once helmed the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, expressed in an email that data brokers have perennially been a quandary for policymakers due to their stealthy accumulation and vending of personal information, over which consumers have barely any say or awareness. The revelations in the ODNI report catalyzed bipartisan traction for empowering consumers to have a say in these dealings.

In a scathing press release, the bill’s sponsors lambasted data brokers. Senator Ossoff chastised them for “buying, collecting, and reselling vast amounts of personal information about all of us without our consent.”

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