The Hill


Commerce Committee chairs in the House and Senate released a bipartisan bill Sunday evening that aims to protect Americans’ personal data online.

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) unveiled the American Privacy Rights Act Sunday that would set “clear, national data privacy rights and protections for Americans.” It will preempt states’ data privacy laws and will establish a way for Americans to sue those who violate privacy laws.

The lawmakers said the deal ends a years-long effort to reach a compromise on data privacy in Congress.

“This bipartisan, bicameral draft legislation is the best opportunity we’ve had in decades to establish a national data privacy and security standard that gives people the right to control their personal information,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement. “This landmark legislation represents the sum of years of good faith efforts in both the House and Senate.”

“It strikes a meaningful balance on issues that are critical to moving comprehensive data privacy legislation through Congress. Americans deserve the right to control their data and we’re hopeful that our colleagues in the House and Senate will join us in getting this legislation signed into law,” they continued.

The legislation, if enacted, will set one national privacy standard that the lawmakers said is “stronger” than any state’s existing laws. It will give Americans more control over their personal data, including allowing them to prevent a company from transferring or selling their data.

It would also allow people to opt out of targeted advertising and allow them to access their own data. Americans would also be able to sue “bad actors who violate their privacy rights,” and it prevents companies from enforcing mandatory arbitration.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is now chaired by McMorris Rodgers, advanced a similar privacy bill in 2022, but the Senate did not take up its own version then. McMorris Rodgers said in a statement that the latest legislation gives individuals “the right to control where their information goes and who can sell it.”

“It reins in Big Tech by prohibiting them from tracking, predicting, and manipulating people’s behaviors for profit without their knowledge and consent. Americans overwhelmingly want these rights, and they are looking to us, their elected representatives, to act,” she said.

Cantwell, chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, said the agreement gives Americans the protections they deserve.

“A federal data privacy law must do two things: it must make privacy a consumer right, and it must give consumers the ability to enforce that right,” Cantwell said. “Working in partnership with Representative McMorris Rodgers, our bill does just that.”

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