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Strengthening the American Privacy Rights Act

A two-pager from the Brennan Center urging Congress to modify the American Privacy Rights Act to ensure government agencies cannot purchase Americans’ sensitive data from data brokers.

Last Updated: May 3, 2024
Published: May 3, 2024

Privacy laws in this country are badly outdated, creating gaps that data brokers and government agencies can exploit. The lack of a comprehensive data privacy protection law in the United States and a reliance on “notice-and-consent” regimes have spawned a market for companies to trade in Americans’ personal data, including detailed location information, health information, purchase history, and browsing history. Data brokers gather information from mobile apps, cookies, and other sources that, alone or combined, can reveal the most intimate details of our lives: our movements, habits, associations, health conditions, and ideologies. Data brokers sell this information not only to advertisers, but also to stalkers, scammers, and foreign actors. They also exploit legal loopholes to sell Americans’ personal information to government agencies, allowing agencies to bypass legal privacy safeguards.

The following two-pager explains how the recently released American Privacy Rights Act rightly seeks to restrict data brokers from exploiting gaps in our privacy laws but contains exclusions and exceptions that make it far too easy for government agencies to purchase Americans’ sensitive data. The two-pager provides solutions to ensure that government agencies cannot evade constitutional and statutory privacy protections by using data brokers. 

BCJ Two-pager on APRA by The Brennan Center for Justice on Scribd