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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

Posted on Jan 12, 2022   Updated on 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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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