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Voters want Congress to act on data privacy, poll finds

Last week, 24,000 petitions supporting a data privacy law were delivered to Congress.

 

Andrew Wyrich

Tech

Published Jan 12, 2022   Updated Jan 12, 2022, 12:01 pm CST

More than half of voters want Congress to pass a federal data privacy law, according to a new poll.

Morning Consult and Politico found that 56% of registered voters either “strongly” supported or “somewhat” supported the passing of a law that would “make it illegal for social media companies to use algorithms to determine the content users see based on personal data social media companies have collected from them.”

The desire for a data privacy law was also bipartisan. The poll found that 62% of Democrats supported a law, with 54% of Republicans and 50% of independents also showing their support.

The widespread desire for a data privacy law comes just a week after a collation of public interest and advocacy groups delivered 24,000 petitions from people online who wanted a law. The petition argued that such a law would make “the internet a better, safer place that enhances our democracy and where our rights are protected.”

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) accepted those petitions during a press conference last week and said it was “past time” for Congress to act.

Last year, when former Facebook employee-turned whistleblower Frances Haugen testified before Congress, some lawmakers said her coming forward could become a “catalyst” for lawmakers to act after years of back-and-forth and little agreement on a data privacy bill.

Other lawmakers like Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) have also recently called for “stronger privacy protections.”

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*First Published: Jan 12, 2022, 11:25 am CST