May 20, 2022

Two Silicon Valley Congresswomen Propose a New Federal Agency to Enforce Online Privacy Rights

From CNBC:

Democratic Reps. Anna Eshoo and Zoe Lofgren announced the Online Privacy Act as Congress has struggled to agree on specifics of privacy legislation which both sides largely agree is warranted. The push has hit some speed bumps as representatives clash over details like whether the bill should preempt states’ laws and whether individuals should be allowed to sue companies for alleged violations.

Eshoo and Lofgren’s new bill proposes the creation of the Digital Privacy Agency (DPA) that would have the power to enforce privacy rights for users and make sure companies follow the law. The independent agency would be funded for up to 1,600 employees and could impose damages up to the same maximum amount as the FTC’s, which is $42,530 per incident, according to a fact sheet from the representatives’ offices.

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From the Mercury News:

“The bill by Reps. Eshoo and Lofgren sets out strong rights for internet users, promotes innovation, and establishes a data protection agency,” said Caitriona Fitzgerald, policy director for the Electronic Privacy Information Center in a statement. After EPIC reviewed other pending privacy bills, she said “this is the bill that Congress should enact.”

The bill also:

  • Criminalizes doxing, the publishing of a person’s personal information on the internet.
  • Prohibits companies’ use of people’s genetic informatio,n except for research, medical or criminal-investigative purposes, and any other approved uses.
  • Requires opt-in consent for use of information for machine learning/in artificial intelligence algorithms.
  • Exempts small businesses from some requirements.

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See Also: Official News Release (via Rep. Anna Eshoo)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.