U.S. PIRG and Leading Groups Demand Real Privacy Protection and Digital Rights

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Today, U.S. PIRG joined leading consumer, privacy and civil rights groups to issue a Privacy Protection and Digital Rights Framework that must form the basis of any new federal privacy law. The release comes as a phalanx of big tech firms and their allies is urging Congress to instead enact a new law that serves them, but preempts stronger state laws and allows all current intrusive industry data collection, sharing and surveillance practices to continue unfettered by any aspect of consumer control or rights.

The following statement can be attributed to Ed Mierzwinski, U.S. PIRG Senior Director for Federal Consumer Programs.

“The Big Tech lobby — led by Google, Amazon, and Facebook and the telco/cable ISPs, likely joined by the big banks and credit bureaus including Equifax — is assailing Congress with demands for a new privacy law that serves them, but not consumers. A centerpiece of their demand is to preempt all stronger state data protection laws and prevent states from passing any new innovative laws as California and Illinois have already done. Second, the BigTech phalanx wants to allow all existing intrusive data collection, sharing and surveillance practices to continue as business as usual with no real new consumer control or rights. Instead of rights and control, they will offer us gibberish notices and weak choices, only some of the time, all enforced solely by the FTC, an agency that already fights with one hand tied behind its back.  Our framework makes federal law a minimal baseline protection but allows states to go further. We also propose a new data protection agency with only one job, protecting consumers and their data. In total, our demand is that Congress enact a real Privacy and Digital Rights Framework for all.”