Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat from New York, introduced the Data Protection Act of 2020 on Thursday to help protect the data of US citizens. The proposed legislation would create the Data Protection Agency (DPA), a new federal agency focused on privacy and fair and transparent data practices.
“The US needs a new approach to privacy and data protection,” said Gillibrand in a press release Thursday. “We cannot allow our freedoms to be trampled over by private companies that value profits over people, and the Data Protection Agency would do that with expertise and resources to create and meaningfully enforce data protection rules and digital rights.”
Like other agencies, the DPA would have its own director appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. The proposed agency would be able to launch investigations, subpoena for testimony or documents, and also suggest rules and orders to carry out federal privacy laws.
The DPA would have three core missions, according to Gillibrand:
- Give Americans control and protection over their own data by creating and enforcing data protection rules.
- Maintain the most innovative, successful tech sector in the world by ensuring fair competition within the digital marketplace.
- Prepare the American government for the digital age.
The proposed legislation will begin makings its way through the Senate.
Sen. Gillibrand is not the first senator to propose an agency to better ensure American’s privacy. On Monday, Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, published a plan to overhaul the Federal Trade Commission. His plan would empower the commission to hold tech companies responsible for data breaches and mishandling of personal data.
Originally published Feb. 13, 6:49 a.m. PT.
Update, 6:57 a.m. PT: Adds background details.