@TonyRomm: Top Senate Democrats unveil new online privacy bill, promising tough penalties for data abuse

Senate Democrats on Tuesday proposed tough new punishments for Facebook, Google and other Silicon Valley tech giants that mishandle their users’ personal data, unveiling a sweeping new online privacy bill that aims to provide people their “Miranda rights” for the digital age.

The effort, led by Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Washington state Democrat who previously worked in the tech industry, marks a significant attempt by Congress to write the country’s first-ever national consumer-privacy law after years of false starts — and massive data scandals that illustrated the costs of the U.S. government’s inaction.

Cantwell’s bill, dubbed the Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act, would allow people to see the personal information that is amassed about them and block it from being sold. The measure also promises steep fines and opens the door for web users to bring lawsuits, if social media sites, retailers and others engage in harmful practices and break the rules.

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