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Senators introduce bipartisan internet privacy bill

Senators introduce bipartisan internet privacy bill
© Greg Nash

Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharIs there a difference between good and bad online election targeting? Election Countdown: Minnesota Dems worry Ellison allegations could cost them key race | Dems struggle to mobilize Latino voters | Takeaways from Tennessee Senate debate | Poll puts Cruz up 9 in Texas Clusters of polio-like illness in the US not a cause for panic MORE (D-Minn.) and John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) on Tuesday introduced a bipartisan internet privacy bill that would give users more control over what websites can do with their data.

The new bill, the Social Media Privacy Protection and Consumer Rights Act, comes just weeks after Congress threatened Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergHillicon Valley: Russia-linked hackers hit Eastern European companies | Twitter shares data on influence campaigns | Dems blast Trump over China interference claims | Saudi crisis tests Silicon Valley | Apple to let customers download their data Public funds support proposal to remove Zuckerberg as Facebook chairman Obama responds to several excuses people give for not voting in new video MORE with tougher regulations when he testified in back-to-back hearings earlier this month.

“I don’t want to hurt Facebook, and I don’t want to regulate them half to death, either,” Kennedy said in a statement. “But I have a job to do, and that’s protecting the rights and privacy of our citizens.”

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The bill would give users the right to opt out of having their data collected and require websites to make their terms of service easily understandable. Users would also have the ability to order websites to delete their data and request copies of what has been collected about them.

Zuckerberg promised Congress that Facebook would take a broader view of its responsibility to consumers after it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica, a political firm that contracted with President TrumpDonald John TrumpCorker: US must determine responsibility in Saudi journalist's death Five takeaways from testy Heller-Rosen debate in Nevada Dem senator calls for US action after 'preposterous' Saudi explanation MORE’s 2016 campaign, obtained data on more than 87 million users without their knowledge.

Still, some lawmakers, such as Kennedy and Klobuchar, see the need for privacy legislation to rein in internet giants. Their bill would require websites to inform users of privacy violations within 72 hours of any breach.

“Every day companies profit off of the data they’re collecting from Americans, yet leave consumers completely in the dark about how their personal information, online behavior, and private messages are being used,” Klobuchar said in a statement. “The digital space can’t keep operating like the Wild West at the expense of our privacy.”