The American Privacy Rights Act Puts People in Control of Their Data

Americans Support a National Data Privacy Standard

The American Privacy Rights Act puts people in control of their own data, gives Americans enforceable data privacy rights, and eliminates the patchwork of state laws. Americans overwhelmingly support stronger data privacy protections, which would protect people, especially children, from Big Tech and other companies who are exploiting our personal information to target and manipulate us.2.png

On Wednesday, April 17, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a legislative hearing to discuss the bipartisan, bicameral data privacy legislation along with other proposals to protect kids online.

As Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) said, “Right now, the average American spends nearly seven hours online a day, with two and a half hours of that time being spent on social media platforms.

“The consequences range from increased suicide rates and depression, to increased polarization and loss of trust in our institutions. All the while, these companies are collecting nearly every data point imaginable which they use to then control what we see and when we see it.”


“Many companies are using their control over our data to erode people’s agency, their rights, and their identity. It’s time for that status quo to change.” 


“Congress has been trying to develop and pass comprehensive data privacy and security legislation for decades. With the American Privacy Rights Act, we are at a unique moment in history where we finally have the opportunity to imagine the internet as a force for prosperity and good.” 

Every witness at our hearing agreed: This is Congress’s best chance to establish comprehensive data privacy protections. Watch: 

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Kara Frederick, Director of the Tech Policy Center at the Heritage Foundation, said, “I firmly believe the issue before us, data privacy, is the lynchpin upon which every piece of tech policy legislation will hinge.”


“Nowadays, when you give your kid a smartphone, you are not giving your kid access to the world, you are giving the world access to your kid.” 

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A key focus of the hearing was how the algorithms developed by these companies are designed to hold our attention, a feature that has been particularly harmful to kids. We have all heard countless stories of children being targeted with content that can lead to dangerous, life-threatening behaviors, which is why parents across the country overwhelmingly support stronger online protections for their children.


Last week, members heard from Ava Smithing, who experienced first-hand the way that a large-scale collection of data can tailor algorithms to exploit kids’ vulnerabilities. 

Watch Ava talk about the need for data minimization in order to protect kids online:

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Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) asked the witnesses “Who is the greatest threats to Americans’ data security?” They answered that the top threats are individuals who are using data to scam and steal from Americans, foreign adversaries, like the Chinese Communist Party, and Big Tech companies. 

Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) asked Kara Frederick about creating specific privacy protections for children. She replied that “children's consciences are not properly formed before these companies are going at them.” 

Rep. John James (R-MI) and Witness Katherine Kuehn of the National Technology Security Coalition also talked about how important the American Privacy Rights Act is for seniors.