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Senators introduce bipartisan internet privacy bill

Senators introduce bipartisan internet privacy bill
© Greg Nash

Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy Klobuchar Klobuchar offers tribute to her father, who died Wednesday The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Cheney poised to be ousted; Biden to host big meeting Senate panel deadlocks in vote on sweeping elections bill 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 ZuckerbergBipartisan attorneys general urge Facebook to scrap planned Instagram for kids Hillicon Valley: Broadband companies funded fake net neutrality comments, investigation finds | Twitter rolls out tip feature | Google to adopt 'hybrid work week' Oversight Board achieving what government cannot 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 TrumpVirginia GOP gubernatorial nominee acknowledges Biden was 'legitimately' elected Biden meets with DACA recipients on immigration reform Overnight Health Care: States begin lifting mask mandates after new CDC guidance | Walmart, Trader Joe's will no longer require customers to wear masks | CDC finds Pfizer, Moderna vaccines 94 percent effective in health workers 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.”