The Government Accountability Office has called on Congress to createÂ new legislation on internet privacy to better secure user data and give the government flexible authority to address evolving consumer concerns and digital threats.Â GAO issued a report on WednesdayÂ that highlighted the lack ofÂ comprehensive internet privacy laws in the U.S.
The agency said the government needsÂ legislation to govern how private companies collect, use or distribute user data. The call comes amidÂ growing online privacy incidents in the U.S., including a 2018 report from Facebook revealing that personal data forÂ 87M users was potentially improperly disclosed.Â
The Federal Trade CommissionÂ leads government efforts to oversee internet privacy andÂ protect consumers from unfair and deceptive trade practices. However, GAO found the FTC’s existing policiesÂ focus on protecting the financialÂ and internet privacy of children. To help address more online privacy concerns, stakeholders areÂ suggestsÂ the federal government providesÂ clarity about prohibited online behaviors, potential new regulations to improve oversight and give FTC a civil penalty authority.Â
âComprehensive internet privacy legislation that establishes specific standards and includes traditional notice-and-comment rulemaking and broader civil penalty authority could enhance the federal government’s ability to protect consumer privacy,â GAO said.