Or as I like to call it: The “How Has This Not Been Proposed Before Yet?!” Act.
Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon recently proposed a bill that would allow consumers to choose whether or not their information is shared or sold by ad-tech companies. This law would have the ability to jail executives, and fine violating companies for up to 4% of their annual income. This bill would be quite revolutionary, in that the FTC currently does not have the ability to fine consumer-privacy-violating companies.
Ever since the massive Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal of 2016, consumers have garnered an increased awareness and skepticism of how their information is being used, stored, and sold online. During the 2016 election, Cambridge Analytica accessed unauthorized information through Facebook regarding users interests, activity and preferences in order to sway voters and influence the presidential election. It was proven that Cambridge Analytica was hired by both the Ted Cruz and Trump campaigns to gather information. This scandal affected over 86 million Facebook users.
To my first point, it was truly shocking to me that this has gone by the way side for so long. In an era of heightened importance placed on privacy protection, this bill would really help consumers sleep a little better at night, knowing they have more control over their own personal data.
As well as bringing justice to a long-overdue privacy issue, the bill is also said to open up at least an estimated 175 jobs in the FTC for policing privacy. Seems to be a win-win for both online consumers and the job market alike.