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Senator Proposes Jail Time For Tech CEOs For Violating Privacy

Democratic senator Ron Wyden from Oregon seems determined to punish tech CEO for violation of privacy and theft of personal data and released a draft bill last week that will give Federal trade Commission powers to place harsh penalties like jail terms on firms that violate their users’ privacy. The bill which is tentatively titled Consumer Data Protection Act that will have a “Do Not Track” database which will allow consumers in US to opt-out of websites that store their personal information like emails, browsing history and other details. This law will be targeted at firms that have revenues of more than $50 Million and have information of more than a million users.

If this bill were to become law it will require these firms to submit “annual data protection report” to ensure that they are complying with the law. These reports should include details of regulations that they have violated during the year along with statements from the tech firms’ CEO and chief information security officers about action they are going to take to prevent recurrence. If executives deliberately mislead the government with false reports then they could face criminal charges.

Under the new bill executives would be fined around $ 5 Million for attempting to hide facts or could be imprisoned for 20 Years if guilty. Senator Wyden has proposed that FTC should hire a new chief technologist along with 50 staff members to monitor privacy abuses by tech firms. This bill has been proposed as tech firms in US are facing a lot of flak from public and government agencies for misusing user data and selling it to advertisers for financial gain. While Uber had to pay $148 Million to settle an investigation that claimed that the firm deliberately hid facts about theft of personal information by hackers of 57 Million customers in 2016. Facebook revealed last month that data of 50 Million users has been exposed during a hacker attack.