Following Mark Zuckerberg’s visit to Capitol Hill this week, two U.S. senators introduced a bill that would dramatically cut down on how Facebook is able to collect our information.
Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Ed Markey introduced the CONSENT Act (short for Customer Online Notification for Stopping Edge-provider Network Transgressions) that would require Facebook and other big tech companies to receive opt-in consent from users in order to collect or share their data. The bill would also require Facebook to notify users when they do, and also when there’s a security breach.
Ultimately, the senators say, it’s about returning control to the hands of users.
“The startling consumer abuses by Facebook… necessitate swift legislative action rather than overdue apologies and hand-wringing,” Senator Blumenthal said in a statement. “Our privacy bill of rights is built on a simple philosophy that will return autonomy to consumers: affirmative informed consent. Consumers deserve the opportunity to opt in to services that might mine and sell their data — not to find out their personal information has been exploited years later.”
Zuckerberg himself has sounded surprisingly open to government regulation in several recent interviews, and his appearance before the Senate this week could open the door for a law like this to take effect. Most likely, Zuckerberg just wants to rid himself of this headache once and for all.