Amazon Lobbying Report Leads to Call for Privacy Legislation From US Lawmakers

Five members of Congress called for federal consumer-privacy legislation after a Reuters report published on Friday revealed how Inc. has been collecting a valuable trove of personal data on US consumers while collecting privacy protections in 25 states. led an under-the-radar campaign for ,

,heroine shamefully launched a campaign to dismantle the privacy law, while its tools make our lives listen and watch,” US Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat who has been involved in bipartisan talks on privacy legislation, said on Friday. written Twitter, “It’s a classic Big Tech move now: deploying armies of money and lobbyists to fight meaningful reforms in the shadows but publicly claiming to support them.”

The disclosures underscore the need for bipartisan action on stronger privacy protections, they wrote. No major federal privacy law has been passed by Congress over the years as members have been stymied on the issue.

US Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who has introduced several privacy bills in recent years, said in a statement that the Reuters story shows how companies including Amazon “spending millions to weaken state laws”. are doing it,” and hopefully Congress will water down the federal law as well. “Unless it’s useless.”

“Congress needs to prove Amazon wrong and pass legislation that ultimately prevents large corporations from abusing and exploiting our personal data,” Wyden said.

When asked for comment, Amazon did not directly address lawmakers’ criticisms of its lobbying campaign against privacy protections. The company reiterated its statement to a previous Reuters report, saying it prefers federal privacy law to a “patchwork” of state rules. The company said it wants a federal privacy law that “requires transparency about data practices, prohibits the sale of personal data without consent, and ensures that consumers have access to and delete their personal information.” have the right to request.”

US Representative Jan Shakowski, an Illinois Democrat who chairs a key House consumer protection subcommittee that deals with privacy issues, said the Reuters disclosures showed Amazon “claims to support” such rules. How is it working to block consumer privacy laws?

“What they mean is that they support a privacy law that protects their profits and their right to consumers’ data, including voice recordings and facial scans,” she said in a statement. “The Congress is not convinced and neither are we intimidated.”

Two other lawmakers who represent areas with a significant Amazon presence — US Senator Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican, and US Representative Suzanne DelBene, a Washington state Democrat — also said the Reuters findings prompted federal action to protect consumers. showed the need.

“Congress will protect consumer privacy by preventing large tech companies from stealing Americans’ personal information, whether these companies like it or not,” Blackburn said in a statement.

© Thomson Reuters 2021