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On Thursday, Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, introduced a draft data privacy bill with harsh penalties for companies that violate data privacy. The bill would apply to companies that bring in more than $50 million in revenue and have personal information on more than 1 million people.

This decision took roots a year ago when Equifax disclosed that hackers stole the personal information of  147.7 million Americans from its servers. Following this, Facebook and Cambridge Analytica were also sued over the firm’s gathering of private data of more than 50 million people through the social network. Also, a lawsuit was filed against Uber after the San Francisco-based ride-sharing company took more than 12 months to inform users that it suffered a major hack.

In August, Google closely escaped from a million dollar GDPR fine for tracking user’s data even when the user asks Google to turn off locations, it actually tracks in incognito mode.

According to Cnet, “lawmakers still felt that the companies involved weren’t being held accountable for mishandling data on millions of people.”

Wyden has always been at the forefront of cybersecurity and privacy issues in the Senate. He said, “Today’s economy is a giant vacuum for your personal information. Everything you read, everywhere you go, everything you buy and everyone you talk to is sucked up in a corporation’s database. But individual Americans know far too little about how their data is collected, how it’s used and how it’s shared.”

Ron Wyden’s draft bill

Wyden’s draft bill has recommended boosting the ability of the Federal Trade Commission to take action on privacy violations. In current scenarios, the FTC can only fine tech companies if they agree to a consent decree. The decree straightforwardly states that users be notified and that they explicitly give their permission before data about them is shared beyond the privacy settings they have established Facebook had done the same in  2011.

The bill also requires companies to submit an annual data protection report, similar to how companies like Google and Apple voluntarily release transparency reports on government demands. CNet reports, “The report needs to be signed by CEOs, who could face up to 20 years in prison if they lie to the FTC.”

The draft bill introduces a national “Do No Track” website, allowing Americans to create a central page to opt out of data sharing across the internet. The FTC would also be able to issue fines up to 4 percent of the company’s annual global revenue, which is also the same percentage that the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation uses.

Wyden’s draft bill is the first legislation proposed on data privacy in the US.

Read Senator Ron Wyden’s draft bill to know more about this data privacy legislation in detail.

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