Unregulated data collection and use in the United States has eroded public trust in companies to safeguard and use data responsibly. Surveys show that, while individuals often try to remove or mask their digital footprints, people think they lack control over their data, want government to do more to protect them, and distrust social media platforms.
The current U.S. data privacy regime, premised largely upon voluntary industry self-regulation, is a failure. Irresponsible data practices lead to a broad range of harms, including discrimination in employment, health care, and advertising, data breaches, and loss of individuals’ control over personal information. Existing enforcement mechanisms fail to hold
data processors accountable and provide little-to-no relief for privacy violations.
The public needs and deserves strong and comprehensive federal legislation to protect their privacy and afford meaningful redress. Privacy legislation is essential to ensure basic fairness, prevent discrimination, advance equal opportunity, protect free expression, and facilitate trust between the public and companies that collect their personal data.