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Security

Trump admin reportedly meeting with Facebook, Google to craft web privacy rights

Internet providers like Comcast and AT&T have also met with officials, The Washington Post reports.

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A proposal of online consumer privacy rights may be the basis for the United States' first online privacy law.

James Martin/CNET

An online privacy protection proposal may see the light of day this fall.

The Trump administration is working on a proposal to protect internet users' privacy, The Washington Post reported. The Commerce Department has been meeting with representatives from Facebook, Google, AT&T, Comcast and other tech companies, as well as consumer advocates over the past month, according to the report.

The government reportedly plans to release a first draft this fall that outlines internet users' rights, including basic guidelines on how companies should collect and handle consumers' private information. The blueprint could become the basis for the United States' first online privacy law.

This comes on the heels of several Silicon Valley controversies involving accessing user data without consent, such as Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal, where millions of users' information was stolen, and Google's Gmail letting third-party app developers access your emails.

In June, California implemented the the toughest data privacy law in the country. The bill, California Consumer Privacy Act or AB 375, lets consumers ask for the data a company has collected on them and to whom that data has been sold. The bill will take effect at the beginning of 2020. State officials will work with the attorney general's office to come up with an enforcement plan.

The possibility that other states might follow California's footprints has made some tech and telecommunication companies more willing to work with federal lawmakers, said the Post.

"We support federal legislation that establishes strong consumer privacy protections that apply to all companies operating on the internet," said an AT&T spokesperson in an email statement. "A unified approach is the only way to effectively protect the personal information of consumers consistently, across the entire internet, and to avoid confusion and market distortions."

Facebook declined to comment. Google and Comcast didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. Neither did the National Association of Consumer Advocates, the Commerce Department and the White House.

First published on July 27, 9:26 a.m. PT.

Updates, 2:19 p.m. PT: Adds AT&T spokesperson statement.

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