Washington, D.C. – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law applauds the “Privacy Bill of Rights Act” proposed today by Senator Ed Markey (MA), a comprehensive privacy bill that prioritizes consumer protection and the disparate impacts of commercial data practices on marginalized communities.

“Addressing the disproportionate harms to marginalized communities caused by the exploitation of personal information needs to be a top priority of Congress as it debates privacy legislation,” said David Brody, Counsel & Senior Fellow for Privacy and Technology at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “It’s time for Congress to take action to protect against the use of personal data to unfairly discriminate on the basis of their immutable characteristics, like race or gender,”

The Privacy Bill of Rights Act includes a number of important provisions necessary to address protect vulnerable communities, including:

  • A prohibition on the use of personal information to discriminate in employment, finance, healthcare, credit, insurance, housing, or education opportunities on the basis of race, gender, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, familial status, biometric information, or lawful source of income.
  • An extension of public accommodations protections to businesses offering goods or services online, and a prohibition on the use of personal information to discriminate in public accommodations. Public accommodations laws are vital to the prohibition of segregation, online and offline.
  • Restrictions on unfair uses of biometric information, such as facial recognition “faceprints” or DNA. Facial recognition systems are often biased against women and people of color, enabling discrimination in e-commerce and law enforcement.
  • Prohibitions on “pay-for-privacy” terms that treat privacy as a luxury good, disadvantaging low-income families and exacerbating digital inequities.
  • A prohibition of forced arbitration clauses that deny injured victims their day in court.
  • Data minimization requirements for companies and individual rights to access and control personal information, reducing risks of abuse and harms from data breaches.
  • Robust transparency and data security requirements, combined with strong enforcement powers for the Federal Trade Commission.
  • A private right of action, so that individuals have the ability to vindicate their own rights.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Free Press Action have released a model bill proposing comprehensive privacy reforms that prioritizes redressing discriminatory uses of personal data.

About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. Now in its 56th year, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is continuing its quest to “Move America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and voting rights.

Contact
Reynolds Graves, Lawyers’ Committee, [email protected], 202-662-8375