Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand pushes legislation to protect personal data

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand pushes legislation to protect personal data

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Most of us do it: hit a few keys, scan a card, and click away with our personal information linked to what we do online.

But is it protected?

“Our privacy and our freedom is being exploited,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

Gillibrand says our data is not safe enough. Things like public profiles, health data, locations, and search histories of millions of Americans are out there being collected and unknowingly used everyday.

“We need a way to protect our privacy and the American people deserve an authority that will look out for them,” said Gillibrand.

Gillibrand has proposed legislation, the Data Protection Act, which would create the Data Protection Agency, or D.P.A., an independent federal agency that would protect Americans’ data, safeguard their privacy, and ensure data practices are fair and transparent.

“They should have the right to know if companies are using their information for profit or selling it to questionable third parties," said Gillibrand.

In just the last few years, major data breaches have occurred in the U.S. In 2017 Equifax failed to safeguard sensitive credit data of nearly 150 million Americans, allowing the Chinese government to steal and expose that information.

“This was one of the largest data breaches in history,” said Attorney General William Barr in regards to the Equifax hack.

The United States is one of the only democracies without a federal data protection agency, and Gillibrand hopes to delete that gap and more barriers.

Gillibrand says, “American’s deserve to be in control of their data.”

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