Silicon Valley lawmakers introduce tough privacy bill

A pair of California Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday introduced a tough privacy bill that would significantly curtail Silicon Valley’s control over all Americans’ personal information.

The bill, introduced by Reps. Zoe Lo fgren (D-Calif.) and Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), would create a new federal agency to oversee how the country’s largest and most powerful tech companies amass and use data about their millions of users across the U.S. It would also grant all users expansive rights over their data.

“Our congressional districts are the epicenter of the technological revolution and our constituents in Silicon Valley have brought forward incredible advances, improving the lives of billions of people, but we believe that great missteps have been made,” Eshoo said during a press call on Tuesday. Both lawmakers represent Silicon Valley.

“The American people have been left vulnerable — the private information we share online has been stolen, abused, used for profit, and it’s been grossly mishandled,” Eshoo added.

The introduction of Eshoo and Lofgren’s Online Privacy Act raises the stakes for a separate House effort to work up a privacy bill. For months, top Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee have been working to put together federal privacy legislation that could attract Republican co-sponsors, but they have not offered that bill publicly yet.

Lofgren during the press call referred to the bill as “the boldest digital privacy act that’s being introduced.”

“We hope that it will be a marker for those who are taking a look at how to protect privacy rights in this digital era,” Lofgren said.