3 min read

Yesterday, a Massachusetts senator filed a consumer privacy bill enabling consumers to sue for privacy invasions. The bill touted to be similar to Californians for consumer privacy (CCPA).  It allows for a private right of action and statutory damages for any violation of the law (not just breaches) and does not require a demonstration of a loss of money or property.

Here’s what the bill proposes:

  • Businesses provide consumers with a notice At/Before Collection
  • Right to Delete: A consumer shall have the right to request that a business delete any personal information about the consumer which the business has collected from the consumer.
  • Right to Opt-out of Third Party Disclosure:  A consumer shall have the right, at any time, to demand that a business not disclose the consumer’s personal information to third parties.
  • No Penalty for Exercise of Rights: A business shall not discriminate against a consumer because the consumer exercised any of the consumer’s rights under the bill
  • Private Right of Action: A consumer who has suffered a violation of this bill may bring a lawsuit against the business or service provider that violated this bill.

The bill says that “Consumers need not to suffer a loss of money or property as a result of the violation in order to bring an action for a violation.”

People on Twitter generally had positive sentiments.

Last month, Sen. Ben Sasse introduced a bill, “Malicious Deep Fake Prohibition Act” to criminalize the malicious creation and distribution of deepfakes, which are increasingly being used for promoting harassment and illegal activities.

Under the bill, it would be illegal for individuals to:

(1) Create, with the intent to distribute, a deep fake with the intent that the distribution of the deep fake would facilitate criminal or tortious conduct under Federal, State, local, or Tribal law; or

(2) Distribute an audiovisual record with— (A) actual knowledge that the audiovisual record is a deep fake; and (B) the intent that the distribution of the audiovisual record would facilitate criminal or tortious conduct under Federal, State, local, or Tribal law.

However, this bill was widely criticized for its loopholes. A statement in the bill states, “Deep fake means an audiovisual record created or altered in a manner that the record would falsely appear to a reasonable observer to be an authentic record of the actual speech or conduct of an individual.” A hacker news user said that this, limits the scope of the act to prohibiting deep fakes that are not explicitly labeled as such.

Another user said, “If that’s the case, any sort of creative editing, even just quick cuts, could fall under this (see: any primetime or cable news, any TV campaign ad, the quick cuts of Obama where it looks like he’s singing Never Gonna Give You Up, etc). A law like this could also be weaponized against political foes—basically, label everything you don’t like as “fake news” and prosecute it under this law.

Orin Kerr in a blog post comments, “The Sasse bill also has a potential problem of not distinguishing between devices and files. Reading the bill, it prohibits the distribution of an audiovisual record with the intent that the distribution would facilitate tortious conduct.

It is promising to see the lawmakers sincerely taking measures to enable building strict privacy standards. Only time will tell if this new legislation will continue to protect consumer data than the businesses that profit from it.

Read Next

Machine generated videos like Deepfakes – Trick or Treat?

Privacy experts urge the Senate Commerce Committee for a strong federal privacy bill “that sets a floor, not a ceiling”

Biometric Information Privacy Act: It is now illegal for Amazon, Facebook or Apple to collect your biometric data without consent in Illinois


Subscribe to the weekly Packt Hub newsletter. We'll send you the results of our AI Now Survey, featuring data and insights from across the tech landscape.