Senator Gillibrand Proposes New Data Protection Agency


Kristen Gillibrand, a US Senator from New York, has proposed the creation of the Data Protection Agency (“DPA”)—a new federal agency tasked with protecting the data of American consumers.  Gillibrand explains that the goals of the agency would be threefold: to (1) give Americans control and protection over their own data by creating and enforcing data protection rules; (2) maintain the most innovative, successful tech sector in the world by ensuring fair competition within the digital marketplace, and; (3) prepare the American government for the digital age.  As such, the DPA would be able to issue civil investigative demands, prescribe rules, and issue orders as is necessary to carry out federal privacy laws.  Under her proposal, the authority of state agencies and state attorneys general would be preserved.  In theory, this would allow existing state laws, like the California Consumer Privacy Act, to remain in effect.  The DPA would likely take away oversight powers from the Federal Trade Commission, which, according to Gillibrand, “has failed to enforce its own orders and has failed to act on dozens of detailed consumer privacy complaints alleging unfair practices concerning data collection, marketing to children, cross-device tracking, consumer profiling, user tracking, discriminatory business practices, and data disclosure to third-parties.”  While Gillibrand’s proposal is still in its infancy, it signals the increased interest in data privacy regulation on a federal scale.  

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