Congresswoman Scanlon Introduces Bill to Ban Sale of Americans’ Health and Location Data

Long overdue legal and regulatory controls on the $200 billion data-broker industry are more urgent than ever in a post-Dobbs world

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05) today introduced the Health and Location Data Protection Act to ban data brokers from selling some of the most sensitive data available about everyday Americans: their health data and location data. Joining Rep. Scanlon in introducing the bill are Reps. Anna Eshoo (CA-18), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Nydia Velázquez (NY-07), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), and Diana DeGette (CO-01). 


Largely unregulated by federal law, data brokers gather intensely personal information, such as location data and search history, and then sell that data to virtually any willing buyer, reaping massive profits. Data gathered by brokers have been used to circumvent the Fourth Amendment, out LGBTQ+ Americans, stalk and harass individuals, and  jeopardize the safety of people who visit abortion clinics for health care. Some brokers have even been caught selling the cellphone-based location data of people visiting abortion clinics, risking the safety and security of women seeking basic health care. 


"Americans deserve to feel confident their most sensitive data is treated with care, not recklessly exploited for profit," said Rep. Scanlon. "But data brokers remain free from federal regulation to collect highly personal data from seemingly innocuous sources and sell it to the highest bidder without the consumer's consent or knowledge. In light of extremist Republicans' attempts to ban or criminalize abortion and other critical health care, clear and strong rules of the road for this $200 billion industry are urgently needed. I'm proud to lead the Health and Location Data Protection Act to rein in giant data brokers' unscrupulous practice of trading on Americans' vulnerabilities."


“Every day in America, data brokers collect and sell an unseemly amount of intensely personal data, often without consumers’ knowledge,”  said Rep. Eshoo. “In a post Roe world, it’s more important than ever that this sensitive data is protected. That’s why I’m proud to introduce this bill with my colleagues to ban the unsavory business practice of buying and selling personal data, including health and location information which pose a serious threat to the privacy of Americans.”


“People’s most private, personal data should remain private, plain and simple. And yet, data brokers have put profits above people’s right to privacy by selling sensitive data. Enough is enough,” said Rep. Jayapal. “I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bill that will prevent data brokers from selling the health and location data of people across the country. In a world without Roe, protecting privacy has never been more crucial or more important to the safety and well-being of millions.”


“The location data and health data of countless of my constituents are not up for sale or open-source information," said Rep. Espaillat. "It is unfathomable that regulations limiting the access and methods of data brokers have been limited. I am proud to stand with my congressional colleagues to introduce legislation that would regulate practices to sell or transfer sensitive information such as location and health data. This legislation is timely and will ensure robust enforcement to protect consumer rights and keep information from falling into the wrong hands."


“For far too long, data brokers have been selling data from millions of Americans, which is not only dangerous, but an egregious breach in privacy,” said Rep. Velázquez. “I’m proud to join this bill in order to stop data brokers from selling or transferring data and to ensure robust penalties for those that participate in this illegal practice. Thank you to Rep. Scanlon for introducing this important piece of legislation, to better protect American’s private information.”


The Health and Location Data Protection Act would: 

  • Ban data brokers from selling or transferring location data and health data and require the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to promulgate rules to implement the law within 180 days while making exceptions for HIPAA-compliant activities, protected First Amendment speech, and validly authorized disclosures.
  • Ensure robust enforcement of the bill’s provisions by empowering the FTC, state attorneys general, and injured persons to sue to enforce the provisions of the law.
  • Provide $1 billion in funding to the Federal Trade Commission over the next decade to carry out its work, including the enforcement of this law.


Find the bill text for the Health and Location Data Protection Act here



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