Lawmakers Propose Data Protection Bill to Make Privacy a Consumer Right

By: Georgia | Published: Apr 08, 2024

Rarely do we witness bipartisan unity in Congress, yet Senators Maria Cantwell and Cathy McMorris Rodgers have bridged the political divide. 

Representing Washington state, these lawmakers from opposite parties are confronting a critical issue: safeguarding personal data privacy. Their collaborative proposal stands to revolutionize privacy protection, establishing it as a fundamental right for Americans.

Uniting Opposites for a Common Cause

Far from a typical partnership, the collaboration between Cantwell and McMorris Rodgers marks a significant moment of agreement in a typically polarized Congress. 

A front-facing view of the United States Capitol Building, featuring its iconic white facade and dome, with a lush green lawn in the foreground and a bright blue sky with scattered clouds above

Source: Wikimedia Commons

They have come together, drafting legislation aimed at protecting personal information from misuse, AP News reports.


The Power Players Behind the Proposal

When the chairs of the Senate Commerce Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee come together, you know something significant is in the works. 

A side-by-side image of two women. On the left, a woman with shoulder-length curly brown hair and a beige blazer smiles at the camera. On the right, a woman with short brown hair, a black outfit with a gray collar, and a silver necklace also smiles at the camera against a dark background

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Senator Cantwell and Representative McMorris Rodgers are leveraging their hefty roles to champion a cause that affects everyone who’s ever been online

Resolving Long-standing Disputes over Privacy

Congress has been at a crossroads for years, trying and failing to agree on how to safeguard our digital breadcrumbs.

An over-the-shoulder view of a man in a maroon shirt working on a laptop placed on a wooden table

Source: Bench Accounting/Unsplash

The proposal put forth by Cantwell and McMorris Rodgers is a step toward securing the much-needed safeguarding of personal data, bringing hope to countless Americans concerned about their digital footprint.

Prioritizing Consent in Data Practices

An era where companies have unrestrained access to personal data is on the verge of ending. 

Over-the-shoulder view of a young woman in a red and black checked coat using a smartphone at a train station platform

Source: Daria Nepriakhina/Unsplash

Emphasizing the necessity of consent, the legislation requires companies to obtain explicit approval before gathering or sharing personal information. Ensuring individuals are informed and empowered to manage their data is at the core of these reforms.

Eliminating Bias and Enhancing Corporate Responsibility

Addressing algorithmic bias head-on, the legislation mandates fair and unbiased data processing. 

Over-the-shoulder view of a man using a laptop displaying the Google homepage on a wooden table in a cafe setting


It also compels companies involved in personal data transactions to register with the Federal Trade Commission, introducing a new level of responsibility and oversight in the industry.


Empowering Individuals Over Their Data

Envision being able to dictate how your data is used, including opting out of targeted advertisements. 

Close-up of a woman's hands typing on the keyboard of a laptop. She is wearing a dark blazer with striped cuffs and a white top, and there's a watch on her left wrist

Source: Christina @

The essence of the proposal is to return control over personal information to individuals, marking a significant leap toward upholding digital consumer rights.


The Data Privacy Bureau

To make sure these rules aren’t just empty promises, the plan includes setting up a new bureau within the Federal Trade Commission focused solely on data privacy. 

An elevated view of a large, classical government building with a red-tiled dome roof at dusk in Washington D.C.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This bureau would be the watchdog of the digital age, making sure companies play by the rules as technology continues to evolve.


Harmonizing Federal and State Privacy Laws

Rather than overshadowing state laws, the proposed federal legislation seeks to complement existing state-level protections for financial, health, and employee data. 

Close-up of a smartphone screen angled to the side, displaying a variety of colorful app icons illuminated against a dark background

Source: Rami Al-zayat/Unsplash

The aim of this strategic approach is to create a unified framework for privacy protection across the nation.


Navigating the Legislative Path

Even with strong backers like Cantwell and McMorris Rodgers, this privacy bill’s path through Congress is far from guaranteed. 

A detailed view of the United States Capitol Dome's lower section, featuring intricate architectural details and columns, with an American flag flying

Source: Ian Hutchinson/Unsplash

It’s a promising start, but turning this proposal into law will require a groundswell of support from both political parties and beyond, AP News notes.


An Unprecedented Collaboration in Privacy Law

This collaboration is the first instance of the Senate and House Commerce Committees uniting over privacy legislation. 

A close-up image showing a golden combination padlock resting on a white computer keyboard, with the lock's dials set to 1066. To the right of the padlock, partially obscured gold credit cards lie atop the keyboard

Source: Towfiqu barbhuiya/Unsplash

Their joint efforts could potentially pave the way for a landmark advancement in the protection of personal data within the United States.


Advocating for a Comprehensive Privacy Standard

The momentum for a comprehensive federal privacy law is building, driven by increased scrutiny of how personal data is managed by technology companies. 

A person's hands holding a smartphone with the YouTube website open on the screen, displaying the title 'Some Good News with John Krasinski' along with other video suggestions

Source: Nathan Dumlao/Unsplash

Offering a holistic approach to privacy, the proposal seeks to establish uniform protections, signaling a shift towards more robust privacy rights for individuals.