Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) and Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) have this week introduced the Dashboard Act, which proposes to require “commercial data operators” (defined as businesses with over 100 million monthly users) to disclose the types of data collected, and provide their users with an assessment of the value of that data. Additional proposals include a requirement for commercial data operators to file an annual report of the annual value of data they have collected, as well as their contracts with third parties regarding this data, and to allow users to delete some or all of the data collected. The legislative intent is to, at least, raise consumer awareness that while “free” apps or platforms they frequent may not be charging them money, these apps or platforms are making large profits by monetizing their data.

Extension of the bill’s requirements to a broader spectrum of commercial entities/transactions may be desirable. For example, the area of manufacturer’s rebates or warranties can be opaque. If the cost of the rebate or warranty is being recouped by the manufacturer by selling the data the consumer is required to provide in order to receive the rebate or warranty, disclosure of this practice at the point of purchase would allow the consumer can make an informed decision about whether to accept these terms in exchange for the warranty or rebate, or, pay more and have the transaction remain private. DASHBOARD Act