Press

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety, today joined Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, Jerry Moran, (R-Kan.) chairman of the Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade, and Consumer Protection, and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) to introduce the COVID-19 Consumer Data Protection Act. The legislation would provide all Americans with more transparency, choice, and control over the collection and use of their personal health, geolocation, and proximity data. The bill would also hold businesses accountable to consumers if they use personal data to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, many tech companies are using data to track the spread and help keep Americans healthy. I helped introduce this legislation which will allow companies to continue innovating while providing Americans with more transparency and safeguards for how their personal data are managed,” said Senator Fischer.

“As the coronavirus continues to take a heavy toll on our economy and American life, government officials and health-care professionals have rightly turned to data to help fight this global pandemic. This data has great potential to help us contain the virus and limit future outbreaks, but we need to ensure that individuals’ personal information is safe from misuse. I am pleased to join Senators Thune, Fischer, Moran, and Blackburn in introducing legislation to address this critical issue,” said Senator Wicker.

The COVID-19 Consumer Data Protection Act would:

  • Require companies under the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission to obtain affirmative express consent from individuals to collect, process, or transfer their personal health, geolocation, or proximity information for the purposes of tracking the spread of COVID-19.

  • Direct companies to disclose to consumers at the point of collection how their data will be handled, to whom it will be transferred, and how long it will be retained.

  • Establish clear definitions about what constitutes aggregate and de-identified data to ensure companies adopt certain technical and legal safeguards to protect consumer data from being re-identified. 

  • Require companies to allow individuals to opt out of the collection, processing, or transfer of their personal health, geolocation, or proximity information.

  • Direct companies to provide transparency reports to the public describing their data collection activities related to COVID-19.

  • Establish data minimization and data security requirements for any personally identifiable information collected by a covered entity.

  • Require companies to delete or de-identify all personally identifiable information when it is no longer being used for the COVID-19 public health emergency.

  • Authorize state attorneys general to enforce the Act.

Click here to read the bill.