Facebook and social media endanger Americans. We need a federal data agency.

My legislation, the Data Protection Act, would create that agency, as well as a comprehensive data rights framework that can protect individual and collective privacy. Having a Data Protection Agency (DPA) would give our government the ability to not only evolve alongside the biggest companies in tech, but go toe-to-toe with them in the fight for privacy. Right now, the United States is one of few democracies, and one of the only members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, without such an agency.

The approach companies like Facebook take to data is motivated not by protecting our privacy but by growing their profit and power. The more that businesses or organizations know about you, the more power they have to target, influence and manipulate you. That power, especially when in the hands of bad actors, is extremely dangerous and capable of creating new, unexpected forms of injustice…

The DPA would move existing, disparate privacy roles from across the government to a centralized authority, creating a more consistent approach to privacy. It would also give consumers a clear place to turn with their privacy complaints. The DPA would not only establish a toll-free phone line and website to report issues, it would also develop a publicly available database to track all reported complaints.