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"This is an anti-privacy bill, not a privacy bill," deputy director at Fight for the Future, Evan Greer, said.
Digital rights advocates rejected legislation presented by a group of Republican senators that would cover how technology companies use consumer data as part of contact tracing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Common Dreams reported Tuesday.
"This is an anti-privacy bill, not a privacy bill," the outlet quoted deputy director at Fight for the Future, Evan Greer, as saying.
The proposed legislation is the COVID-19 Consumer Data Protection Act, introduced last week in a press statement by GOP Senators.
According to one of them, the proposal would "address specific consumer privacy violations resulting from COVID-19."
But policy counsel at Public Knowledge, a group that promotes freedom of expression and open internet, Sara Collins, criticized the bill saying that "Companies may still profit from selling health information or geolocation data, and are allowed to infer who has been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus."
"The only 'restrictions' apply to data specifically collected for coronavirus contact tracing. Even these limited protections fail to apply to law enforcement or federal agencies."
"The bill gives no new resources to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to enforce the law, no new enforcement powers, and—despite the reference to any FTC rules—no new rulemaking authority," said Collins.
"To make matters worse," she added, "the bill gratuitously preempts the much stronger FCC privacy protections governing mobile carriers. These protections have been used to ensure data on mobile phones is not shared with third parties without the user's permission. As a final insult to consumer privacy, the bill would preempt the states from adopting or enforcing any stricter privacy protections in the absence of strong federal protections at the FTC."
"This bill is truly a privacy 'cure' worse than the disease," Collins concluded.