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US House subcommittee passes online privacy bill

The bill is the first attempt at a federal online privacy law.
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A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee has passed a bipartisan bill addressing online privacy. The bill aims at limiting social media companies’ collection of personal data.

The legislation would require tech companies to only collect the personal data that is required to provide their services. Sensitive information like Social Security numbers would also be required to have extra security when being stored and processed.

We obtained a copy of the draft bill for you here.

The subcommittee passed the bill and will now proceed to the full committee for review. The bill was sponsored by Democrat Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Frank Pallone and Republican Reps. Gus Bilirakis and McMorris Rodgers.

“Today’s markup is another milestone towards our ultimate goal of enacting meaningful national privacy legislation,” said Pallone.

Previous efforts to pass online privacy laws have been unsuccessful due to lobbying from tech companies, which insist that the cost of their free services is data collection for advertising.

There is also the issue of whether federal laws would fall short of state laws, which are often stronger. Additionally, there is debate on whether users would be empowered to sue companies for privacy violations.

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