APRA: The US’s Answer to Data Privacy Concerns

The American Privacy Rights Act (APRA) was recently introduced by key figures from both the House and Senate committees.  

The American Privacy Rights Act (APRA) was recently introduced by key figures from both the House and Senate committees.  

If this cross-party legislative proposal is approved, it would be a significant step toward establishing a comprehensive data privacy framework within the U.S.  It’s designed to prevent companies from collecting, retaining, and using consumer personal data, restricting it to only essential services. 

APRA also enables users to opt out of targeted advertising, and gives them the opportunity to access, correct, delete, as well as download their data from online platforms. The intent here is to create a national database to register data brokers. This database would require these entities to offer the users the option to refuse the sale of their data. 

Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, emphasized the importance of such legislation. She stresses that it aims to empower Americans with control over their data and to curb the use of data by major tech companies without prior consent for profit. 

The proposal also tackles concerns regarding state-level protections by allowing states to pass their own privacy laws related to civil rights and consumer protections, among other exceptions. It includes provisions from the law of privacy ruled in California, which allows individuals to sue companies for harm related to data breaches. 

On the state level, ARPA grants the Federal Trade Commission, state attorneys general, and private citizens the authority to file a suit against companies that violate the law. However, small businesses with limited data collection and annual revenues of $40 million or less would be exempt under APRA. Enforcement will be focused on larger businesses with revenues exceeding $250 million annually. Governments, entities working on behalf of governments, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and certain fraud-fighting nonprofits are also excluded from the bill. 

Despite being praised for its strength, the future of this legislation remains unknown, as it is currently a discussion draft, and while there is no official date for introducing a bill, lawmakers are expected to gather feedback and plan to send it to committees this month. 

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