Senate Dem wants to imprison tech execs over repeated privacy violations

Senate Dem wants to imprison tech execs over repeated privacy violations
© Greg Nash

A Democratic senator has unveiled a new proposal for a national privacy law, one that would subject technology CEOs to lengthy prison sentences for repeated violations.

Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHillicon Valley: Google to limit political ad targeting | Senators scrutinize self-driving car safety | Trump to 'look at' Apple tariff exemption | Progressive lawmakers call for surveillance reforms | House panel advances telecom bills Democrats raise privacy concerns over Amazon home security system Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny MORE (D-Ore.) on Thursday released a draft of his legislation, which would give internet users the ability to opt out of being tracked online and having their data collected for advertising.

“Today’s economy is a giant vacuum for your personal information," Wyden said in a statement. "Everything you read, everywhere you go, everything you buy and everyone you talk to is sucked up in a corporation’s database. But individual Americans know far too little about how their data is collected, how it’s used and how it’s shared."

Under the proposed law, companies would be fined up to 4 percent of their annual revenue on their first privacy or cybersecurity offense, and on the second one senior executives could be sentenced to 10-20 years in prison.

Wyden says that the proposal is meant to start a discussion as Congress deliberates over a national privacy standard following a string of data scandals at major companies.

He's also invited public comment on his proposal. People can submit their thoughts on the bill by emailing

“It’s time for some sunshine on this shadowy network of information sharing,” Wyden said. “My bill creates radical transparency for consumers, gives them new tools to control their information and backs it up with tough rules with real teeth to punish companies that abuse Americans’ most private information.”