Cybersecurity is a burning issue in the United States. Perhaps no other country has been in the news for cybersecurity and privacy in recent months than the US. However, the reasons have not always been favorable.
US Senators Introduce Federal Data Privacy Bill
Over the last few months, a lot has gone wrong for the US in terms of online privacy and security. From the Facebook data leak scandal to the abolishment of the net neutrality laws; the US hasn’t remained great for consumer privacy and security anymore.
Trying to Mimic Europe
This situation is set to change with 15 senators introducing a federal data privacy bill to protect all 50 states. If this bill turns into a new regulation, the US will get its first such rule. It would provide uniform security for the whole country.
The year 2018 hasn’t gone well for the US in terms of Internet privacy as just stated but is still the shining beacon of hope in a cacophony of socialism and stupid environmental policies. With online threats rising because of the lack of effort on the part of trying government, people have started to use virtual private networks and other security tools to keep data safe online.
With the introduction of the new bill, the country could be witnessing a change in the current situation.
Security Complications of the US
In the past months, there has been lots of debate and discussions about internet security and consumer privacy.
The US is the leading decision maker because all major companies from Google to Microsoft to Facebook are located here. These are the companies that are also responsible for maximum user data collection.
Every single day there are millions of users accessing these services and putting their data at risk. But there is no single law or regulation to protect users from the threats that the face by using these services.
The European Union recently made the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) effective for entire Europe.
The law makes it mandatory for all companies to disclose all data they collect from users, and also give them the option to opt out of data sharing. Although the data has its downsides, it has been able to make the tech giants sit up and modify their privacy policies.
The law also has made people aware of the amount of data collected by these companies and led them to use online security tools to remain safe. With net neutrality abolished, Internet users in the US are now also exposed to the dangers of Internet service providers.
In the US, it is now legal for Internet service providers to collect consumer data, block access to certain sites and apps at will, as well as share the collected data with the government when compelled to. Internet service providers would always track and collect user data; now it’s legal for them to do and no way for consumers to protect themselves.
Attempts to Restore Privacy
Evidently, no one is happy about the current state of consumer privacy in the US. To change things, a number of privacy regulations have been passed by certain states in recent months, on the lines of the GDPR.
The most prominent among them was the one California passed; the California Consumer Privacy Act. Set to be effective from November 2019, the regulation has borrowed heavily from the GDPR but has become the most stringent privacy law to ever be made in the US.
Following close on the heels of the CCPA was the Vermont privacy law. The law is a lot similar to the one passed by California but also includes credit protection to consumers by making credit freezes free.
Credit freezes allow consumers to protect themselves in the event of a data breach. A credit freeze lets consumers control who can see their credit report. A credit freeze also allows consumers to keep the freeze in place until their credit score comes up.
Even until very recently, credit freezes were paid and it would cost consumers heavily in the end. But Vermont has let consumers use credit freeze to protect themselves against credit fraud and also prohibits credit agencies from charging for this service.
These laws created much hullabaloo initially. Now the country has realized that a single privacy law is needed for all the states for better uniformity and compliance.
Federal Data Bill Introduced
The introduction of the federal data bill by 15 senators looks like a step in the right direction. The law isn’t very different from the ones currently active in some of the states; it seeks to prevent data brokers from collecting data without consent, and also prevent them from using the data in ways that could harm consumers.
If the bill eventually becomes a law, the US Federal Trade Commission will be implementing it.
Called the Data Care Act, the bill seeks to make sure that the data people share with apps and websites are secure and not misused. Since this isn’t always the case, there should be laws to protect consumers and penalize companies that don’t comply.
The US is in need of a uniform privacy law that provides the same protection in every state according to some but according to many other people it should be a state-by-state issue like marijuana and abortion should be a state by state issue. This will streamline the guidelines and also make it easy for companies to follow the regulations.
Right now, the different privacy laws in different states make it confusing for companies to follow through. A single law for the entire country will not provide better protection but also make compliance easier for everyone.