Senate Tech Task Force Examines Data Privacy Concerns

Congress has expressed increasing concerns over privacy and security risks posed by social media giants

Congress has expressed increasing concerns over privacy and security risks posed by social media giants

Bipartisan Senate Judiciary task force begins bi-monthly working group, focusing on a tech issues including data privacy and security.

Last week, the first meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee Tech Task Force convened, marking the start of bi-monthly discussions on how to manage technology issues, including those with data privacy and security.

Senators Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, and Dianne Feinstein, D-California, will lead the bipartisan working group, to address escalating technology issues across all sectors. The group was formed in response to the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal and increasing concerns over consumer data privacy. Their aim is to eventually create new laws to address these concerns. The task force will also discuss censorship, antitrust, and competition.

Privacy and Security Concerns

Throughout the year, Congress has expressed increasing concerns over privacy and security risks posed by social media giants and other large tech companies such as Google, as well as third-party apps, which are lacking in essential consumer regulations designed to ensure data is not shared without users’ explicit consent.

Last month, another bipartisan effort from Senators Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Arkansas, produced proposed legislation to close gaps in HIPAA and curb the privacy risks found in health apps.

In May, the Senate HELP Committee questioned the Office of the National Coordinator about its interoperability and information blocking proposals that lean heavily on third-party apps to fuel data sharing, but won’t be regulated by HIPAA.

Along with input from industry leaders, the new tech task force will work to find solutions for these issues.

Sen. Blackburn said in a statement.

This bipartisan group is working to build an institutional knowledge about the technological privacy issues we face in 2019 and how to address them,

Sen. Feinstein also commented:

Most Americans are unaware of just how much personal data is collected and transmitted by the services and devices we depend on daily, …And while the US leads the world in online innovation, we lag many other countries in protecting consumers. That’s why this task force is so necessary.

The group has already had meetings with privacy heads from Mozilla, Salesforce, and others about their privacy regulation concerns and exactly how the US can continue to be competitive and innovative, while ensuring the data privacy of consumers.

To Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, it’s critical to address how to effectively handle the “unforeseen use of consumer data,” while Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, is primarily focused on the need for strong federal privacy rules to effectively end data collection and sharing between third parties.

Source: HealthITSecurity