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Congress Might Pass an Actually Good Privacy Bill

Wired: “Usually, when Congress is working on major tech legislation, the inboxes of tech reporters get flooded with PR emails from politicians and nonprofits either denouncing or trumpeting the proposed statute. Not so with the American Data Privacy and Protection Act. A first draft of the bill seemed to pop up out of nowhere in June. Over the next month, it went through so many changes that no one could say for sure what it was even designed to do. For such an important topic, the bill’s progress has been surprisingly under the radar. Now comes an even bigger surprise: A new version of the ADPPA has taken shape, and privacy advocates are mostly jazzed about it. It just might have enough bipartisan support to become law—meaning that, after decades of inaction, the United States could soon have a real federal privacy statute. Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the new bill is that it focuses on what’s known as data minimization. Generally, companies would only be allowed to collect and make use of user data if it’s necessary for one of 17 permitted purposes spelled out in the bill—things like authenticating users, preventing fraud, and completing transactions. Everything else is simply prohibited. Contrast this with the type of online privacy regime most people are familiar with, which is all based on consent: an endless stream of annoying privacy pop-ups that most people click “yes” on because it’s easier than going to the trouble of turning off cookies. That’s pretty much how the European Union’s privacy law, the GDPR, has played out…”

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