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May 6, 2021

Senator Rick Scott Introduces Data and Algorithm Transparency Agreement Act

If this legislation is passed and signed by the President, it will either drive many social media companies (Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, SnapChat, Instagram, etc.) out of business or else will require a massive overhaul of their present business practices of spying on their users.

Obviously, the social media companies will spend millions of dollars on lobbyists and others to prevent the passage of this bill. I suspect the next few months will provide a lot of entertainment as these powerhouses battle each other. 

The following is a message posted to the IAJGS (International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, Inc.,) Public Records Access Alert mailing list and is republished here with permission:

Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) introduced the Data and Algorithm Transparency Agreement Act (DATA) to increase transparency by requiring big technology platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter to receive express consent to use American’s personal information.

The DATA Act would also provide Americans with legal recourse against these companies if they believe their right to privacy has been violated.

Currently, tech companies capitalize on algorithms to manipulate users, pushing them toward content the algorithm believes they would like or be interested in. These companies are also gathering massive amounts of personal data – and users have little to no control over how their data is used.

The bill is S.1477 but is not yet back from the Government Printing Office.  To follow the bill’s progress go to:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/1477

A summary which appeared in the local news media listed below states:

Requires any internet platform, with an active monthly user base of 30 million or more U.S. users, that uses algorithms to increase or decrease the availability of content on its platform to:

Obtain user consent to collect data of the user’s preferences, habits, etc.;

Allow users to revoke or withdraw prior consent to data collection, and to request any user data previously collected be deleted or removed;

Obtain user consent to sell, share, or convey user data to a third-party entity;

Allow users to revoke or withdraw prior consent to sell, share, or convey the user’s data to a third-party entity;

Provide a plain language notice to users of the above requirements (in addition to any terms of service notifications), which will appear each login, unless affirmatively waived by the user.

Private right of action: If a platform provider violates any of these conditions, any individual user may file a federal lawsuit, and is entitled to minimum monetary damages of $5,000 per violation, plus any actual damages and attorney’s fees.

To read more see: https://www.wtxl.com/news/local-news/sen-rick-scott-introduces-data-act-to-shield-personal-info-from-big-tech-companies

Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

May 6, 2021

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