Nevada senator wants to protect your digital footprint

Nevada Senator wants to protect your digital footprint

WASHINGTON (GrayDC) - People may not always know if their information is safe on the web. One senator is hoping her proposed legislation will help protect people’s personal information.

A digital footprint includes information like a person’s name, birth date and social security number. Nevada’s Senator Cortez Masto said there has to be data privacy laws at the federal level to keep that footprint protected.

“It’s out there forever and it can’t be taken back,” said Cortez Masto about the data, once it is put into the online world.

Masto said she has seen too many lives ruined by identity theft. That is why she is sponsoring the “Data Privacy Act” in Congress.

Part of the act will require some online retail businesses to let you know if they’re collecting more information than they need. Customers will then get to decide if and how that company can use their information.

The privacy notice has to be clear and concise.

The senator said she hopes requirements like this will put a stop to massive data hacks.

“We know in this day and age, there are big corporations that monetize it — make money off of it," Masto said. "And we’ve seen horrific breaches, credit bureau breaches.”

Elizabeth Banker, Internet Association vice president and associate general counsel, supports the Data Privacy Act, but said it doesn’t go far enough. She said protections need to be expanded even further.

“So that privacy is protected everywhere you go. And the information you give to a car rental in an airport is as well protected as you might give to a ride-sharing app,” Banker said.

Banker is also concerned about privacy notice requirements. She said many users don’t read privacy notices.

“No consumer could conceivably go through everything,” she added.

Masto said she is still working to improve the bill and will continue to talk with cyber security experts and consumer groups.

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