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Data is personal

The right to privacy is a profoundly and fundamentally American concept. But in this day and age, the lines between public and private are becoming increasingly blurred. Each day, we become increasingly reliant upon new technologies for convenience and connection with loved ones.

Unfortunately, many of these technologies come with a price: the privacy of our data.

A kind of economy has formed around the collection, storage, and distribution of all the information that can be gleaned about you from various sources. Everything from your browsing history to location data are up for grabs and auctioned off to nearly anyone with a credit card. All of these bits and pieces of information are valuable to companies in the digital age.

But it feels like not a day goes by that we're not waking up to a headline about how a company or bank failed to protect your private information - or even sold it to shady data brokers looking to abuse your personal information.

There have to be ironclad protections in place to protect consumer data, and real consequences for companies that fail to protect it. That's exactly what I've been fighting to do in the Senate.

As the Senate's resident "privacy hawk" my staff and I have been working hard to ensure that your personal data stays personal. Here are a few recent successful efforts:

  • First, at my urging, Google reduced the amount of consumer location data they will collect and store in an effort to prevent red states from weaponizing data against women who have sought an abortion.
  • Second, in response to my requests, Meta (Facebook) announced that it would encrypt direct messages (DMs) between users, meaning the DMs you send to another person on the platform will finally have strong protections.

  • Third, after I called on Apple to require a court order before handing consumer data about push notifications over to authorities, the company announced that it would implement that as standard practice.

Though these changes may seem small, they show that progress on this issue is possible. I'm not going to back down from fighting to protect your constitutional right to privacy from every angle.

More soon,


Posted on February 16, 2024.

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Ron Wyden is a champion for our progressive values -- standing up for consumers and the middle class, fighting for digital privacy and an open internet, protecting our planet and Oregon's special places, and always insisting on human rights and equality for all.

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