Opinion

The Bi-Partisan DELETE Act Is Pro-Consumer and Pro-Competition

Robert Seamans

By Robert Seamans

By Robert Seamans

On February 9, 2022 a bipartisan group of lawmakers – Sens. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) in the Senate and Rep. Lori Trahan (D-Mass.) in the House – introduced a new bill that would direct the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to oversee a process whereby consumers could request their personal information be removed from certain digital databases. The bill is called the DELETE Act (an acronym for “Data Elimination and Limiting Extensive Tracking and Exchange”). You can read the text here. The DELETE Act also calls for the FTC to require data brokers to register with the FTC, for the FTC to keep track of requests from consumers to delete data, and to track data broker compliance with the requests. 

According to the text of the bill, a data broker is an entity “that knowingly collects or obtains the personal information of an individual with whom the entity does not have a direct relationship and then—(i) uses the personal information to perform a service for a third party; or (ii) sells, licenses, trades, provides for consideration, or is otherwise compensated for disclosing personal information to a third party.” Note that by this definition, social media platforms such Facebook are excluded, because Facebook has a direct relationship with individual consumers.

The bill is aimed at increasing consumer transparency about which entities have data on them. It also empowers consumers to restrict access to their data for privacy reasons and identify when data is incorrect or being misused. Consumers that believe they benefit from data being used by third parties do not need to request the FTC to have their personal information deleted. 

Read the full Forbes article
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Robert Seamans is Associate Professor of Management and Organizations and Director of the Center for the Future of Management