The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology favorably reported several bills to the full House today, including H.R. 847—the Promoting Digital Privacy Technologies Act.

The bicameral and bipartisan legislation, introduced to the House by Rep. Haley Stevens, D-Mich., back in February 2021, would require the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support research on privacy enhancing technologies, if enacted.

Research on privacy enhancing technologies may include:

  • Research on technologies for de-identification, pseudonymization, anonymization, or obfuscation of personal data in datasets while still ensuring fairness, accuracy, and efficiency;
  • Research on algorithms and other mathematical tools used to protect individual privacy when collecting, storing, sharing, or aggregating data;
  • Research on technologies to promote data minimization principles in data collection, sharing, and analytics; and
  • “Research awards on privacy enhancing technologies coordinated with other relevant Federal agencies and programs.”

“I am proud to partner with my colleagues from the Senate, across the aisle and industry as we work together to enhance privacy protections for our constituents,” Rep. Stevens said at the time of its introduction. “It is high time that we research ways in which privacy enhancing technologies can be utilized to protect Americans’ most sensitive and personal data.”

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In addition to promoting research into privacy enhancing technologies, the bill would develop standards for integration of these technologies into public and private sector data use to ensure that Americans reap the benefits of data analysis while also protecting their most sensitive information.

In addition to H.R. 847 being favorably reported, three additional amendments for the legislation were passed via voice vote.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.