New bill could force Facebook, Google to disclose value of users’ data
There’s no such thing as a free lunch — certainly not in Silicon Valley.
That’s the message from a pair of US Senators who introduced a bill Monday to force tech giants like Facebook and Google to tell users just how much the personal data they collect is worth.
Senators Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) — two lawmakers who have been outspoken critics of Facebook and other social media companies’ data privacy practices — say they want users to be well-informed of what they are signing away when they agree to a company’s terms and conditions.
The bill — known as the Dashboard Act, short for Designing Accounting Safeguards to Help Broaden Oversight and Regulations on Data — would require companies with over 100 million users to disclose the value of their data and would allow users to request the deletion of the data that companies collect on them.
The lawmakers said the bill is intended to help with an “overall lack of transparency and disclosure” from Silicon Valley, where companies offer supposedly free services in exchange for tracking often valuable information, including what users look at online, who their friends are and what they are reading. The data is used to sell targeted ads.
“For years, social media companies have told consumers that their products are free to the user,” Warner said. “But that’s not true — you are paying with your data instead of your wallet.”
“We look forward to continuing our ongoing conversations with the bill’s sponsors,” Facebook said in a statement.
Elsewhere, Facebook learned over the weekend that it must face a lawsuit related to a September data breach that saw hackers gain access to 30 million accounts.
A federal appeals court in San Francisco declined to grant the social network’s request to dismiss the suit, which accuses the Palo Alto company of negligence for failing to protect against the breach.
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