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Peters Presses for Consumer Data Privacy Protections

Peters: Data Privacy “Can Be One of the Defining Issues of this Decade,” Highlights Reports of Pregnancy and Health Apps Sharing Medical Information with Employers and Data Brokers Trying to Sell Personal Information of Children

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today highlighted the need to strengthen privacy protections as consumers increasingly utilize data and technology apps for daily needs. During a Senate Commerce Committee hearing examining data privacy expectations, Peters questioned experts about what more must be done to protect consumers’ data and highlighted recent reports of pregnancy applications sharing personal data and data brokersattempting to sell the personal information of over 1.2 million children. Currently there are no federal restrictions on sharing personal information collected on mobile apps, such as health records. In addition, there’s a lack of federal oversight, transparency and accountability for data brokers, which amass information about consumers and then work to sell that data to other companies and or individuals.

“The issue of protecting privacy, given the explosion of data from technologies – with the ability to collect vast amounts of data – will be one of the defining issues of this decade,” said Senator Peters. “With data comes power, and that power is based on data collected from all of us individually. We need to ensure protections are in place so that consumers know whether or not their sensitive, personal information can be shared or sold.”

Peters plans to work on these issues in the weeks and months to come. You can watch Senator Peters’ questioning at the Commerce Committee hearing by clicking here.

Peters has advocated consistently to strengthen consumer protections. In the wake of the Equifax breach in 2017, Peters pressed for a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation into whether Equifax misled consumers with false claims of cybersecurity integrity and failed to maintain adequate security protocols to protect consumer data – an investigation the FTC announced shortly after Peters’ letter. The Equifax data breach exposed the Social Security numbers and personal identification information of more than 145 million Americans, including more than 4.6 million Michiganders.