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Hearing On Capitol Hill Discusses Legislation To Protect Consumer Data

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WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – Uber has agreed to a $148 million settlement over a data breach where hackers stole the personal information of Uber drivers.

Data privacy was the subject of a hearing Wednesday on Capitol Hill where lawmakers are looking to development legislation that would protect consumer's data.

But some worry it may not go far enough.

Tech giants including Amazon, Twitter, Google and Apple faced a senate committee looking to crack down on data privacy.

"The question is no longer do we need a federal law to protect consumer privacy, the question is what shape will that law take," said Sen. John Thune.

Tech companies have self-regulated these issues for decades.

But Europe and the State of California created new rules forcing businesses to disclose the type of data they collect and let customers opt out of having their data sold.

The industry fought against the measures.

Google said massive resources were used to comply with the new European rules.

A vice president from Amazon said the California law was developed too quickly.

"Resulting in some provisions that ultimately do not promote best privacy practices," said Andrew DeVore, VP and Associate General Counsel for Amazon.

All the companies said they support data privacy and federal legislation.

But senator Edward Markey worries a watered down federal law could supersede and weaken rules in California and other states.

"We don't need to pass weak laws," Markey said.

Consumer advocates are also upset that senators only invited the tech industry to the hearing.

"This is extraordinarily important that they hear from consumers who've suffered from data breaches," said Jack Gillis, Executive Director of Consumer Federation of America.

But the head of the committee said this is just the beginning.

"We're going to hear from other groups on this issue so we're not done with it yet, but I think this was a good start," Thune said.

The committee will hold a hearing next month and hear from consumer advocates.

The new rules in California go into effect in 2020.


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