December 08, 2020

Cortez Masto, Fischer Introduce Legislation to Protect Americans’ Data Privacy

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) today introduced legislation to advance emerging data privacy technologies, which will enable Americans to continue reaping the benefits of data analysis while also protecting their personal data. The Promoting Digital Privacy Technologies Act would require the National Science Foundation (NSF) to promote research into privacy-enhancing technologies (PET) and develop standards for the integration of PETs into public and private sector data use.


“In today’s world, it’s impossible to escape data—data analysis and usage is everywhere, used for everything from streamlining business processes to managing the spread of diseases to facilitating traffic flows. But as we leverage this incredibly powerful tool, we need to ensure we are protecting Nevadans’ data privacy, too. My new, bipartisan legislation will allow Nevadans to take full advantage of the many benefits of data while knowing their personal data and information is secure,” said Senator Cortez Masto. 


“Our country relies on large-scale data analysis in everything from agriculture to transportation to pandemic response. While these datasets are critically important, it must be collected in ways that protect Americans’ privacy. This bipartisan legislation will help keep Americans’ personal information secure,” said Senator Fischer.




Senator Cortez Masto is a strong advocate for enhancing Americans’ data privacy. In February of 2019, the Senator introduced the Digital Accountability and Transparency to Advance (DATA) Privacy Act, legislation that would strengthen data privacy protections for American consumers and ensure corporations are focusing on implementing new data security standards and essential privacy protections. She is also a cosponsor of the Data Care Act, which would require websites, apps, and other online providers to take responsible steps to safeguard personal information and stop the misuse of users’ data.


The Promoting Digital Privacy Technologies Act would:


  • Require the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support research into PETs, including:
    • Fundamental research on PET technologies.
    • Fundamental research into the mathematics that underlie PETs.
    • Fundamental research into technologies that promote data minimization principles.
  • Facilitate research in coordination with other relevant agencies.
  • Integrate this mission with the NSF’s Computer and Network Security Program.  
  • Require the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to work with the academic, public, and private sectors to develop and establish voluntary consensus standards for the integration of PET into business and governmental applications, including working with NIH and CDC to increase responsible public health research.
  • Require reports to Congress on progress with research and standard setting every two years.