Data brokers are gearing up to fight privacy bills - 2 minutes read

Congress has been trying to crack down on data brokers — and the data brokers are fighting back. In late March, the House unanimously passed a bill that would prevent Americans’ data from being sold to foreign adversaries. And an amendment on data collection is mixed up in the bill reauthorizing Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the controversial statute that authorizes the National Security Agency, which expires later this month.

Lawmakers’ negotiations over FISA’s reauthorization became so contentious that House Speaker Mike Johnson withdrew the bill from consideration in February. The biggest source of conflict was an amendment introduced by Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH) that would prohibit data brokers from selling consumer data to law enforcement and would require a warrant to access Americans’ information, Politico’s Influence newsletter reported in February. National security hawks in Congress and local law enforcement groups joined forces to kill the amendment, with the National Sheriffs’ Association claiming it would “kneecap law enforcement” in a letter to Congress.

“The Sheriffs of this great country don’t often keep score on House amendments,” the letter read, “but on this one, we will keep score and know who our friends are by their votes against Congressman Davidson’s amendment, which empowers the cartels and further erodes the rule of law in our nation.”

With FISA set to expire at the end of the month, Congress will no doubt take the issue up again. Some legislators have implied they’re unlikely to vote for the bill without the privacy amendments included. “We have to have these amendments. Like, there’s no way we’re not going to have them,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, told Politico in February.

Data brokers appear to be wading into the fight, too. Relx, the United Kingdom-based parent company of data analytics firm LexisNexis, hired the lobbying firm Venable earlier this year as the amendment was being debated in the House, Politico’s Influence newsletter reported. Other Relx subsidiaries have recently come under fire for their data collection and distribution practices as well. In March, The New York Times reported that several automakers were sharing information about their customers’ driving habits with LexisNexis Risk Solutions, which, in turn, sold that information to insurance companies.

Source: The Verge

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