Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif) would like to see the House of Representative pass “landmark legislation shielding consumers from the onslaught of data breaches and the anxiety and confusion over the misuse of their personal information on the web, by July 2019.

To push the legislation, Khanna unveiled a list of 10 principles that is a draft of the “Internet Bill of Rights.” He hopes the draft will inform “sweeping data privacy laws to protect U.S. citizens in the digital age.”

Americans have a great concern about the protection of their privacy and security online. In an interview on Oct. 5, 2018, Khanna told The Washington Post that he is hoping the U.S. Congress will help craft regulation that will protect people in the cyber world.

The list of 10 principles contains ideas lawmakers, technologists, and consumer advocates have wanted and asked for over a long period of time. The “Internet Bill of Rights” calls for consumer choice for internet service providers, net neutrality, greater transparency in data collection practices by web companies, opt-in consent for data collection, and timely notification if a company holding personal data endures a hack.

Khanna consulted with a variety of experts to draft the 10 principles. Notably, those who assisted Khanna were Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the world wide web and Obama administration officials Todd Park and Nicole Wong.

The New York Times was the first to report on the Internet Bill of Rights.

There have been previous congressional efforts to pass data protection laws, however, they failed to advance. In the wake of record-breaking data breaches that gained widespread public condemnation, such as the Equifax breach last year and the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal in March. However, Democrats and Republicans alike have shifted. There is no longer a concern if a national law is needed to protect the privacy of consumers; the question is what shape should the law take, according to Senate Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.)

Europe is pushing new privacy rules to push the tech industry to the negotiating table. California recently passed their privacy laws and pressured tech companies to consider federal privacy rules. Other states are beginning to pass similar restriction on data-harvesting practices.

In May, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation has swayed industry leaders to work on new uniform rules with tech giants like Facebook, Google, and Apple. They are updating their data collection practices to comply with the E.U.

According to a spokeswoman for Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif), Taylor Griffin, it is a top priority to expand access to a safe and secure internet and protect consumers.

Pelosi had Khanna draft the Internet Bill of Rights six months ago. However, the work to make the principles a law is under the jurisdiction of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in the next Congress.

Khanna recognizes the Internet Bill of Rights is a work in progress, however, he views the action on Capitol Hill as the only way forward. He said he is open to constructive criticism and revisions, but Khanna finds in inexcusable that Congress is not acting.

According to the drafted Internet Bill of Rights:

You should have the right:

  1. To be able to gain access to and have knowledge of all collection and uses of personal data by companies;
  2. To opt-in consent to the collection of personal data by any party and to the sharing of personal data with a third party;
  3. Where context is appropriate and with a fair process, to obtain, correct, or delete personal date controlled by any company and to have those requests honored by third parties
  4. To have personal data secured and to be notified in a timely manner when a security breach or unauthorized access of personal data is discovered;
  5. To move all personal date from one network to the next;
  6. To access and use the internet without internet service providers blocking, throttling, engaging in paid prioritization or otherwise unfairly favoring content, applications, services or devices;
  7. To internet service without the collection of data that is unnecessary for providing the requested service absent opt-in consent;
  8. To have access to multiple viable, affordable internet platforms, services and providers with clear and transparent pricing;
  9. Not to be unfairly discriminated against or exploited based on your personal data; and
  10. To have an entity that collects personal data have reasonable business practices and accountability to protect consumer privacy.

By Jeanette Smith


The Washington Post: Silicon Valley congressman unveils an Internet Bill of Rights

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