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DELETE Act would allow people to delete all their data and info across all websites, not just one…

GovTrack Insider – Medium
2022 04 04

DELETE Act would allow people to delete all their data and info across all websites, not just one at a time

Rep. Lori Trahan (D-MA3)
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA)

This probably won’t get passed until Congress first enacts the CONTROL and ALT Acts.

Context and what the legislation does

In September, GovTrack Insider covered the Click to Quit Act, which would require that websites and apps make it easier for users to delete their account. Yet that still wouldn’t change an underlying problem: a user wishing to delete more than one account would still have to visit every single website and app individually.

The DELETE (Data Elimination and Limiting Extensive Tracking and Exchange) Act would have the Federal Trade Commission create an online portal allowing people to submit a one-time opt-out request for all their personal information and data, stored with all websites and apps registered with the system.

Most websites and apps would presumably have to be registered with the system, although the legislation grants six types of exemptions, including websites dedicated to journalism, for investigating fraud, and for verifying or authenticating a person’s identity.

All such personal info and data would have to be deleted within 31 days.

The Senate version was introduced on February 10 as S. 3627, by Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA). The House version was introduced a few days later on February 15 as H.R. 6752, by Rep. Lori Trahan (D-MA3).

What supporters say

Supporters argue the legislation would allow a one-stop shop for a digital feature that most Americans likely want.

“Americans across the political spectrum agree that online companies have nearly total control of the data collected on them, and they’re right,” Rep. Trahan said in a press release. “Once our phone number, web history, or even social security number gets added to a data broker’s list, it becomes nearly impossible to get it removed. [The legislation would] return power back to consumers by giving each of us the right to have sensitive personal information removed from these lists.”

“People expect privacy and their personal information to be protected,” Sen. Cassidy said in a separate press release. “This bill gives Americans a solution to ensure their personal data is not tracked, collected, bought or sold by data brokers.”

What opponents say

Opponents may counter that the legislation would be logistically difficult to implement.

“One downside of the proposed act is the burden it potentially places on the FTC,” Robert Seamans, Director of the Center for the Future of Management at New York University’s Stern School of Business, wrote for Forbes. It “would be funded by imposing a fee on data brokers, but it is not clear the extent to which such a fee would cover the up front cost of establishing such a registration and tracking system, let alone maintaining it.”

“If the fee does not completely cover the costs, then the FTC would need to balance the costs of such a system against an already stretched-thin budget,” continued Seamans. “Either it would not be implemented well, or other initiatives at the FTC would be adversely affected.”

(Despite that concern, Seamans doesn’t actually oppose the legislation overall, calling it “pro-consumer” and “pro-competition.”)

Odds of passage

The House version has not yet attracted any cosponsors. It awaits a potential vote in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The Senate version, in addition to its Republican lead sponsor, has attracted one Democratic cosponsor: Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA). It awaits a potential vote in the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.

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This article was written by GovTrack Insider staff writer Jesse Rifkin.

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DELETE Act would allow people to delete all their data and info across all websites, not just one… was originally published in GovTrack Insider on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.