U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) today introduced legislation aimed at protecting Americans' data from being sold by and to corporations.
The bill, titled the Mind Your Own Business Act, would require companies to disclose how they use and share users' data and would give people the option to stop allowing for their data to be disseminated.
Corporations that violate the law would be issued steep fines and potential prison terms and consumers would be able to view the data companies own about them and challenge inaccuracies.
In a statement, Wyden said the legislation is meant to hold platforms like Facebook accountable. It includes steep fines—up to 4 percent of company revenues—and up to 20-year prison sentences to executives who lie to the Federal Trade Commission.
"Mark Zuckerberg won't take Americans' privacy seriously unless he feels personal consequences," Wyden said. "A slap on the wrist from the FTC won't do the job, so under my bill he'd face jail time for lying to the government."
Wyden said the Mind Your Own Business Act is an attempt to hold companies accountable from profiting off users by brokering their data.
"I spent the past year listening to experts and strengthening the protections in my bill," Wyden said of the Mind Your Own Business Act. "It is based on three basic ideas: Consumers must be able to control their own private information, companies must provide vastly more transparency about how they use and share our data, and corporate executives need to be held personally responsible when they lie about protecting our personal information."
In August, Wyden told WW that he favors criminal penalties for the CEOs of companies that lie about how customers' data is being used.
"Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly lied to the American people about privacy," Wyden said then. "I think he ought to be held personally accountable, which is everything from financial fines to—and let me underline this—the possibility of a prison term. Because he hurt a lot of people."