Wyden’s Digital Privacy Legislation Is a Good Start

Statement of Emily Peterson-Cassin, Digital Rights Advocate, Public Citizen

Note: U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) today unveiled legislation called the Mind Your Own Business Act to protect digital privacy. At the same time, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is speaking today at Georgetown University.

Senator Wyden’s Mind Your Own Business Act has some good things in it, though we are still reviewing the details.

Wyden’s legislation rightly allows states to develop their own protections for consumers. The tech titans want to kneecap strong state laws, notably California’s privacy law due to go into effect in January. Importantly, the legislation also supports consumers’ right to sue when companies violate their privacy.

In addition, the bill creates serious consequences for tech CEOs when they violate the law. Recent decisions by the Federal Trade Commission have let companies off too lightly for abusing the trust of consumers. Tech CEOs like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg won’t take privacy seriously until they feel painful personal consequences for violating it – including jail time.