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Senate Could Make User Data Less Secure with New Proposal

WASHINGTON—Today, Sen. Chris Coons reintroduced the Platform Accountability and Transparency Act (PATA), which essentially mandates that online services give “researchers” and “news outlets” access to user data for “research” purposes. 

“Congress, under the PATA, would be forcing websites to make user data less secure,” said NetChoice Vice President & General Counsel Carl Szabo. “By mandating websites give access to our personal information to what it deems to qualify as researchers, Congress would create an environment ripe for dozens of Cambridge Analytica-style data breaches. Any researchers—even ones with the best intentions—can be hacked.”

Szabo continued: “While the legislation goes to great lengths to protect the researchers from liability in the event of a data breach, it does nothing to protect websites from harm when their data is stolen by bad actors because of this proposal. Rather than recycling failed proposals, Congress should do the hard work of passing national data privacy rules that protects all Americans from bad actors and sets a national standard to override the growing patchwork of conflicting, complex state laws on privacy.”

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