Prospects brighten for US law to shield online consumer data

By MARCY GORDONFeaturesAssociated Press

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FILE- In this April 10, 2018, file photo Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington. Momentum is gaining in Washington for a privacy law that would sharply reduce the ability of the largest technology companies to collect and distribute people’s personal data. Zuckerberg, published a column last month in the Washington Post calling for tighter regulations to protect consumer data, control harmful content and ensure election integrity and data portability. (AP Photo, Alex Brandon, File)

Momentum is gaining in Washington for a privacy law that could sharply rein in the ability of the largest technology companies to collect and distribute people's personal data.

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A national law, the first of its kind in the U.S., could allow people to see or prohibit the use of their data. Companies would need permission to release such information. If it takes effect, a law would also likely shrink Big Tech's profits from its lucrative business of making personal data available to advertisers so they can pinpoint specific consumers to target.

Behind the drive for a law is rising concern over private data being compromised or distributed by Facebook, Google and other tech giants that have earned riches from collecting and distributing consumer information.