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U.S. lawmakers call for privacy legislation after Reuters report on Amazon lobbying

Nov 22 (Reuters) – Five members of Congress referred to as for federal consumer-privacy legislation after a Reuters report printed Friday revealed how Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) has led an under-the-radar marketing campaign to intestine privacy protections in 25 states whereas amassing a precious trove of non-public knowledge on American shoppers.

“Amazon shamefully launched a campaign to squash privacy legislation while its devices listen to and watch our lives,” U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat who has been concerned in bipartisan negotiations on privacy legislation, wrote Friday on Twitter. “This is now the classic Big Tech move: deploy money and armies of lobbyists to fight meaningful reforms in the shadows but claim to support them publicly.”

The revelations underscored the necessity for bipartisan motion on stronger privacy protections, he wrote. No main federal privacy legislation has handed Congress in years as a result of members have been deadlocked on the difficulty.

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U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who has launched a number of privacy payments in recent times, stated in an announcement that the Reuters story confirmed how corporations together with Amazon are “spending millions to weaken state laws,” and hoping Congress may even water down federal legislation “until it’s worthless.”

“Congress needs to prove Amazon wrong, and pass legislation that finally stops massive corporations from abusing and exploiting our personal data,” Wyden stated.

Asked for remark, Amazon didn’t immediately handle the lawmaker criticisms of its lobbying marketing campaign in opposition to privacy protections. The firm reiterated its assertion for the earlier Reuters report, saying it prefers federal privacy legislation to a “patchwork” of state rules. The firm stated it needs one federal privacy regulation that “requires transparency about data practices, prohibits the sale of personal data without consent, and ensures that consumers have the right to request access to and deletion of their personal information.”

U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat who chairs a key House client safety subcommittee that offers with privacy points, stated the Reuters revelations present how Amazon is working to dam client privacy legislation whereas “claiming to support” such rules.

“What they mean is that they support privacy legislation that protects their profits and their right to mine consumers’ data, including voice recordings and facial scans,” she stated in an announcement. “Congress is not convinced nor are we intimidated.”

Two different lawmakers who signify areas with a big Amazon presence – U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican, and U.S. Representative Suzan DelBene, a Washington state Democrat – additionally stated Reuters’ findings confirmed the necessity for federal motion to guard shoppers.

“Congress will protect consumers’ privacy to stop big tech companies from stealing Americans’ personal information, whether these companies like it or not,” Blackburn stated in an announcement.

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Reporting by Chris Kirkham and Jeffrey Dastin

The Amazon logo is seen outside its JFK8 distribution center in Staten Island, New York, U.S. November 25, 2020.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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