New US privacy bills take aim at data brokers

US lawmakers have lately appeared to be putting privacy first, with the passage and drafting of bills that seek to protect American data both at home and abroad. 

While the so-called TikTok ban has dominated the media lately, other recent proposed bills include Protecting Americans’ Data from Foreign Adversaries Act of 2024, or H.R. 7520, and the American Privacy Rights Act (APRA).

Though they sound good on the surface, not everyone is happy. Read on to find out more.

Preventing data sales to foreign adversaries

H.R. 7520 was led by the Energy and Commerce Committee and passed unanimously in the House with a vote of 414 – 0. It prevents data brokers (individuals or companies that gather people’s personal information to sell to third parties for a variety of purposes) from selling US data to foreign adversaries. This includes countries such as China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran. If data brokers are found to have sold information to these countries, they’ll face penalties from the Federal Trade Commission.

A statement from the House Energy and Commerce Committee said: “Today’s overwhelming vote sends a clear message that we will not allow our adversaries to undermine American national security and individual privacy by purchasing people’s personally identifiable sensitive information from data brokers.”

Meanwhile, domestic data privacy bills have been faced with less widespread support.

Data privacy protection within the US

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce recently unveiled a draft of APRA, which aims to create comprehensive data privacy laws and put people in control of their personal information. However, the draft has been criticized for needing to go farther, particularly when it comes to data brokers. 

The Record reports that one key criticism relates to how if people want their data deleted, they would have to contact each data broker individually instead of being able to make a request to all brokers at the same time. According to Rep. Lori Trahan, who spoke at the bill’s hearing, this would require visiting 871 broker websites.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has also called out the draft bill’s weaknesses. Regarding data brokers, the EFF highlights how government contractors would not be required to follow APRA’s privacy protections, which could end up protecting data brokers who sell biometric and location data to the government.

Share on Twitter, Facebook, Google+