Articles, i-Citizen

Americans deserve federal privacy protections and greater transparency into hidden harms online

Published on 17. February, 2022

“Privacy is fundamental and cannot be treated as optional. Companies and regulators need to work hand in hand to provide stronger privacy protections to people. Technical privacy protections by companies are complementary to privacy regulation and neither alone is sufficient.”

Marshall Erwin

Marshall Erwin, Mozilla’s Chief Security Officer, testified today before the Committee on House Administration. The Committee held a hearing on Big Data: Privacy Risks and Needed Reforms in the Public and Private Sectors. Members of Congress and witnesses highlighted, among other privacy concerns, the need for baseline federal privacy protections. 

In his testimony, Marshall focused on:

  • Mozilla’s work to make our vision for privacy and security a reality in the products we build and the technologies we develop
  • The essential role that Congress plays in creating a healthier internet, including a call for US federal privacy legislation.
  • Mozilla’s support for complementary rules to provide greater transparency into how people experience online discrimination and harm when their data is collected, used and shared without meaningful awareness or consent.
  • And finally, the need to foster stronger consumer protection and competition obligations, while simultaneously ensuring a favorable environment for privacy-enhancing technologies.

“We believe through our product and policy work we can help address the data privacy gaps that exist today, impacting consumers, companies, and the public sector alike. Despite being a powerhouse of technology innovation for years, the United States is behind globally when it comes to recognizing consumer privacy and protecting people from indiscriminate data collection and use.” 

Marshall Erwin

Privacy online is in desperate need of reform and Mozilla’s efforts to improve the ecosystem and empower people take many shapes. We advocate to policy makers for comprehensive privacy legislation, for greater ad transparency and for strong enforcement around the world. We offer industry-leading anti-tracking protection by default to all users in the Firefox browser and offer a VPN service. But we know we cannot do it alone. Others need to change too. That’s why we work with other browser makers, ad networks, publishers and advertisers to put forward proposals that would make online advertising less privacy-invasive and improve people’s privacy. And why we push other tech companies to reinforce their privacy protections.

For more, check out the replay of the hearing or read Marshall’s prepared statement for the Committee.

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