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Limits on personal data gathering by Google, Facebook, others advance in U.S. House

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WASHINGTON, July 20 (Reuters) - A U.S. House of Representatives committee approved on Wednesday a bill to create the first U.S. privacy law limiting personal information collected online by companies like Alphabet's Google and Meta's Facebook.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the bill by a margin of 53-2. It now goes to the House floor. A companion bill is before the Senate.

Privacy legislation has been introduced regularly in Congress but failed amid fights over whether it would preempt state laws, which are sometimes stronger, or whether individuals would be allowed to sue in the case of privacy violations.

"People need more control over their information online. They're looking to us, their elected representatives, to act. The American Data Privacy and Protection Act includes the most robust privacy protections to date in the United States," said Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the top Republican on the committee, after its passage.

Tech companies often use free services, like social media platforms, to entice users and collect information to target the users for advertising. Two tech trade groups issued statements criticizing the measure within minutes of its passage. (Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by David Gregorio)