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WASHINGTON– The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law endorses bipartisan, bicameral legislation to strengthen data privacy and advance civil rights online, the American Data Privacy and Protection Act. The following is a statement from David Brody, Managing Attorney for the Digital Justice Initiative at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law:

“The American Data Privacy and Protection Act represents the most significant development in federal privacy policy in years. Privacy rights are civil rights, and this bill will build out our civil rights infrastructure to fight discrimination in a data-driven economy. We urge Congress to continue to strengthen the bill and pass bipartisan legislation right away to ensure that all Americans have equal opportunity on the internet and fair access to the information, goods, and services it enables.”

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law endorses this legislation because it prohibits discriminatory uses of personal data; protects against biased algorithms that determine access to and eligibility for essential needs such as housing, employment, credit, healthcare, education, and public accommodations; requires companies to only collect, use, or share as much data as is necessary to provide services consumers expect; and has reasonable enforcement, including a private right of action. Algorithmic bias and identity theft disproportionately impact Black and Brown communities, as well as other marginalized and disenfranchised groups. A robust private right of action is an essential component of any civil rights regime, including this bill, because historically communities of color and others could not rely on the government to vindicate their rights. The bill also requires companies to disclose their data practices, provides extra protections for kids’ privacy, and creates a new bureau at the Federal Trade Commission to protect privacy rights. 

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About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to mobilize the nation’s leading lawyers as agents for change in the Civil Rights Movement. Today, the Lawyers’ Committee uses legal advocacy to achieve racial justice, fighting inside and outside the courts to ensure that Black people and other people of color have the voice, opportunity, and power to make the promises of our democracy real. For more information, please visit https://lawyerscommittee.org.