U.S. House passes bill on online privacy

U.S. House passes bill on online privacy

WASHINGTON Reuters -- A bipartisan online privacy bill passed on Thursday by the U.S. House of Representatives, but doubts remain as to whether it will become law.

The bill would require companies like Alphabet's Google and Meta's Facebook to only collect personal data necessary to provide services. The measure passed on a voice vote by the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee. It is now going to the full committee.

The attempts to pass privacy legislation were blocked by a buzzsaw of opposition from tech companies who provide free services by using consumer data for advertising. The debate over these bills focused on whether federal legislation would preempt state laws, which are sometimes stronger, or whether individuals would be allowed to sue in the case of privacy violations.

The bill's fate is uncertain because it faces criticism from powerful Senate Democrats, including Senator Maria Cantwell, who doesn't believe the bill's enforcement is strong enough.

The sponsors are Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone along with Representative Jan Schakowsky, both Democrats, as well as Republican Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Gus Bilirakis.

Today's markup is another milestone toward our ultimate goal of enacting meaningful national privacy legislation, said Pallone.