Senator Marco Rubio introduces privacy bill to create federal regulations on data collection

“Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced a bill Wednesday aimed at creating federal standards of privacy protection for major internet companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Google,” Renae Reints reports for Fortune.

“The bill, titled the American Data Dissemination Act, requires the Federal Trade Commission to make suggestions for regulation based on the Privacy Act of 1974,” Reints reports. “Congress would then have to pass legislation within two years, or the FTC will gain the power to write the rules itself (under current laws, the FTC can only enforce existing rules).”

MacDailyNews Take: The U.S. Congress has to do something? Looks like the FTC will gain the power to write the rules itself.

“While Rubio’s bill is intended to reign in the data collection and dissemination of companies like Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Google, and Netflix, it also requires any final legislation to protect small businesses from being stifled by new rules,” Reints reports. “The caveat comes when one considers states’ rights to create their own privacy laws. Under Rubio’s legislation, any national regulations would preempt state laws—even if the state’s are more strict. According to Rubio, ‘a state-by-state patchwork of laws is simply not an effective means of dealing with an issue of this magnitude.'”

Read more in the full article here.

“In today’s post-industrial economy, you are the product. Data detailing your every move is why 34-year old Mark Zuckerberg is worth $54 billion, and Google co-founder Larry Page is worth $50 billion,” Senator Marco Rubio writes in an op-ed for The Hill. “Your data is incredibly valuable, and for the most part, it is not even yours. But use of your personal data is governed by antiquated laws that do not work in the modern economy. The time has come for Congress to address consumer data privacy in a candid, responsible and modern manner.”

“The current structure of most privacy policies that users blindly accept protect tech providers instead of user privacy and data,” Rubio writes. “This is unacceptable, which is why I am introducing the American Data Dissemination (ADD) Act.”

Read more in the full op-ed here.

MacDailyNews Take: This sounds like a bill that Apple could get behind.

Bud Tribble, Apple’s Vice President of Software Technology, last year provided the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Hearing on “Examining Safeguards for Consumer Data Privacy” written Congressional Testimony, dated September 26, 2018. Here it is, verbatim:

Good morning Chairman Thune, Ranking Member Nelson, and members of the Committee. I am honored to be with you for this important hearing and to convey Apple’s support for comprehensive federal privacy legislation that reflects Apple’s long- held view that privacy is a fundamental human right.

My name is Bud Tribble. I am a physician; my research background includes neurophysiology and mechanisms of epilepsy. I am also Vice President of Software Technology for Apple, where I began my career in 1981, working as manager for the original Macintosh Software team. It was an exciting time to be at Apple. Back then, computing was something that was done by third-parties using big mainframe computers until the debut of personal computers like Macintosh. Few people could have imagined a day when they would have a computer in their pockets. And even fewer people could have imagined the amount of personal information that would be flowing in cyberspace.

To Apple, privacy means much more than having the right to not share your personal information. Privacy is about putting the user in control when it comes to that information. That means that users can decide whether to share personal information and with whom. It means that they understand how that information will be used. Ultimately, privacy is about living in a world where you can trust that your decisions about how your personal information is shared and used are being respected. We believe that privacy is a fundamental human right, which should be supported by both social norms and the law.

This approach comes very naturally to Apple. We got our start by ushering in the personal computer revolution—putting the user in the driver’s seat of their own computer. When the Internet began greasing the skids on information flow, it seemed very natural and very important to extend that by putting users in control of their personal information. Apple is about harnessing technology to empower people. We have proved time and again that great experiences don’t have to come at the expense of privacy and security.

At Apple, this has a fundamental effect on how we develop all of our products. Some would call this “privacy by design.” It means that we challenge ourselves to minimize the amount of personal information we collect. Can the information we do collect be less identifiable? Can we process information on the device instead of sending it to servers? We want your device to know everything about you; we don’t feel that we should.

When we do collect personal information, we are specific and transparent about how it will be used. We do not combine it into a single large customer profile across all of our services. We strive to give the user meaningful choice and control over what information is collected and used. We spend a lot of time designing the best way to present those choices and explain them to the user. And finally, we provide strong, easy to use security to help ensure that privacy expectations are not destroyed by bad actors.

These concepts have guided our design process for years because privacy is a core value at Apple, not an obligation or an aftermarket add-on. And these are a few of the concepts that we believe this Committee should consider as it undertakes the important task of drafting comprehensive privacy legislation that protects consumers and encourages continued innovation.

Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to participate in this important hearing.

Apple endorses comprehensive privacy legislation in U.S. Senate testimony – September 26, 2018
Trump administration working on federal data privacy policy – July 27, 2018
California’s data privacy law highlights growing frustration with tech industry – July 17, 2018
U.S. House Republicans demand answers from Apple, Google on privacy, data practices – July 9, 2018
California lawmakers approve data-privacy bill despite opposition from Google, Facebook, advertisers – June 29, 2018


  1. For what it’s worth, Congress would be doing their job in settling these very important matters.

    Apple or any other company will be representing their interests. It’s foolish to think that the public’s interest will always align with that. Maybe for zealots, less so for citizens.

    In Apple’s letter above they correctly indicate how they empowered people with the PC. What they omit is how they took away that user, and developer control with iOS. Like I said… not always.

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