WPRI 12 News Washington DC Bureau

Bill would create federal agency to protect Americans’ data

Washington DC

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) ─ Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, is hoping to establish a federal agency to crack down on companies that profit off of Americans’ personal data.

She’s sponsoring a bill that would create the Data Protection Agency to police those who would profit from stealing personal information.

“I worry as a mom every time my kid downloads a game,” Gillibrand said. “Is he saying that they can now track him, know his whereabouts, know his search history, use it and sell it?”

Gillibrand said Americans have no control over where their data goes.

“Every time every one of us downloads an app, uses our phone in any way companies are scraping our data, stealing our data, using our data and selling our data to unnamed third parties,” she said.

Gillibrand said the agency would protect Americans data, safeguard privacy and enforce data protection rules, which are established by the agency or Congress.

“So that the social media platforms and these companies are not stealing our data and using it and giving it to the highest bidder,” she said.

But Sen. Mike Braun, R-Indiana, isn’t sure expanding the federal bureaucracy is the answer.

“We need to do things better, more efficiently,” he said. “A lot is done in the private sector and in local and state governments, so I’m going to be very leery about doing anything on a large scale until we’ve exhausted all other possibilities.”

Despite those concerns, Gillibrand said the government has a responsibility to protect Americans’ data and how it’s being used.

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