Josh Hawley Introduces Legislation Allowing Americans to Prevent Tech Companies from Gathering Their Data

U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol April 2, 2019 in Washington, DC. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) held a news conference to discuss "his efforts to make healthcare more affordable and accessible for families." (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) announced a bill Monday that would allow Americans to prevent big tech companies from gathering their data without direct consent.

Hawley’s bill, called The Do Not Track Act, aims to enforce and support the “Do Not Track” internet feature, which gives users the option to request that websites not gather their personal data. The bill would also make it illegal for companies to gather the data of users who do not wish to share the information.

“Big tech companies collect incredible amounts of deeply personal, private data from people without giving them the option to meaningfully consent,” Hawley said in a statement.

Hawley also discusses the rise of big tech companies due to the “creepy surveillance tactics” they employ.

“[Big tech companies] have gotten incredibly rich by employing creepy surveillance tactics on their users, but too often the extent of this data extraction is only known after a tech company irresponsibly handles the data and leaks it all over the internet,” Hawley stated. “The American people didn’t sign up for this, so I’m introducing this legislation to finally give them control over their personal information online.”

Should it be passed, the legislation would prohibit Facebook, Google, and others from transferring data with other companies unless the first company with the information is an intended intermediary.

The legislation would also cover all internet activity, including that from within apps. App users would have the ability to control which applications are allowed to gather any additional data that is not required for the app to properly function.

Hawley, a staunch critic of big tech, has previously introduced legislation aimed at combating big tech. In March, Hawley and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) proposed a bill which would ban targeted advertising by Big Tech to young children.

During a speech earlier this month, Hawley gave a speech at the Hoover Institution where he highlighted the dangers of social media business models to American society.

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