Senate Bill Would Send Tech Execs To Prison For Data Misuse

By on November 6, 2019

November 6, 2019

In the wake of continuing privacy violations and what some perceived as tone-deaf Congressional testimony from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, some senators are taking a close look at a bill first introduced last year by Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon). The “Mind Your Own Business Act” would establish new privacy and security standards for tech companies, and back them up with a heavy enforcement regime. Among other provisions: Senior executives who lie to the FTC could get up to 20 years in prison. According to Wyden, enforcement history vis a vis Facebook illustrates his contention that the big tech companies can simply brush off even extraordinarily large fines. Facebook’s stock price actually went up this summer after it reached a $5 billion settlement with the FTC. Wyden’s bill has some bipartisan report, according to an article in Wired, which quotes what appears to be an endorsement from Senator Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican. Some lawmakers, however, including another Missouri Republican, Roy Blunt, have voiced reservations. Blunt points to the unintended consequences of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley law. He maintains it caught up a lot of smaller, presumably marginally or not at all culpable financial firms, even though it was supposed to target abuses in the very largest.

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