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Wyden Proposes Jail Time for Execs Who Lie to FTC About Privacy

Oct. 17, 2019, 3:26 PM

Company executives would face possible jail time for lying to the Federal Trade Commission about privacy and data security matters, under a new bill by Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden.

The Mind Your Own Business Act would give the FTC new authorities and resources to police privacy. It would allow the FTC to issue fines for first-time privacy violators of up to 4% of annual revenue, similar to a potential penalty under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.

“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,” Wyden said in a statement.

Other Senate and House lawmakers are working on federal privacy legislation, but no vehicle has been introduced in either chamber. Democrats and Republicans disagree about how much new authority to give to the FTC, and whether to pre-empt state privacy laws, including the California Consumer Privacy Act.

Wyden’s bill also would establish a national Do Not Track system allowing consumers to tell companies to stop tracking their online activities or collect data about their web habits. It also would give consumers a way to review personal data that companies collect, share or sell.

Wyden released draft text in November 2018. His bill includes additional language that would allow state attorneys general to enforce federal privacy laws and give privacy groups the right to sue on behalf of consumers for alleged privacy violations.

To contact the reporter on this story: Daniel R. Stoller in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Keith Perine at