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Blumenthal, Colleagues Call for Historic FTC Rulemaking on Consumer Privacy, Civil Rights & Cyber Security Safeguards

“Consumer privacy has become a consumer crisis.”

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chair of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security, led a group of nine Democratic senators calling on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to advance a rulemaking process to strengthen consumer privacy, bolster civil rights, and establish guardrails on the collection and use of consumers’ personal data. The senators’ letter comes amid ongoing concerns about Big Tech’s unimpeded access and abuse of consumer’s private information, anti-competitive behavior, and data breaches, as well as alarm over rising discrimination using personal data that undermine civil rights.

“We believe that a national standard for data privacy and security is urgently needed to protect consumers, reinforce civil rights, and safeguard our nation’s cybersecurity,” wrote the senators to FTC Chair Lina Khan. “Accordingly, and in parallel to congressional efforts to create federal privacy laws to give power back to consumers, the Commission should take advantage of every tool in its toolkit to protect consumers’ privacy.”

The senators emphasized a number of urgent consumer protections that should be addressed by the rulemaking, including the banning of exploitative targeting of children and teens and other specific practices, implementing opt-in consent rules on the use of personal data, and global opt-out standards. 

“Consumers deserve strong and enforceable privacy safeguards in the digital economy – opening a rulemaking would be a powerful step toward addressing this long overdue need,” the lawmakers wrote.

The letter was signed by U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Ben Ray Luján  (D-NM), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Edward J. Markey (D-MA). The full text of the letter can be found here.