FTC asks Congress to create national privacy law to regulate big tech's use of personal data

Members of the United States Federal Trade Commission (FCC) on Wednesday asked Congress to create a national privacy law that would regulate how technology giants like Facebook and Google gather, store, and share the personal data of users.

"As we have learned from the concerning privacy issues surrounding Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, and from massive data breaches like the one at Equifax, there is little reason to believe that consumers can trust these companies with our personal data," said Frank Pallone (D-NJ), who heads the energy and commerce committee.

Cecilia Kang at the New York Times:

In testimony before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection, commissioners also asked Congress to strengthen the agency's ability to police violations, and for more resources and greater authority to impose penalties.

Lawmakers are considering a national privacy law to regulate the collection and handling of user data, the most valuable currency of the internet economy.

That debate is taking place while the F.T.C. is in settlement talks with Facebook after a 13-month investigation into privacy violations. The agency is expected to levy a $5 billion penalty on Facebook for violating a 2011 privacy settlement with the regulator.

As part of that agreement, Facebook said it would overhaul its privacy practices. But in 2018, the F.T.C. opened a new case after it was reported that British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica had used a vast trove of Facebook data to compile voter profiles as part of its work on the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.