The tech industry is losing its best chance to rebuild trust in its ability to protect Americans’ privacy.

Tech titans such as Apple, Google and Facebook should be embarrassed that the United States is the only major developed nation without fundamental online user protections. The next big tech innovation, artificial intelligence, will only exacerbate privacy concerns. Tech leaders should be on the forefront in working with Congress to forge federal privacy legislation that would both protect firms’ ability to innovate and users’ privacy. They need to understand that a day of reckoning awaits if Americans’ trust in the industry continues to slide in the wake of a series of tech scandals.

Democrats and Republicans in Congress are equally motivated to pass a privacy bill. But there is significant division on how strong the protections should be.

Former California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a sweeping data-privacy law in 2018 that should serve as the model for Congress. California Democrats in the House of Representatives are working to make that a reality. The fear is that Senate Republicans will write legislation that both pre-empts the California law — which doesn’t take effect until 2020 — and is significantly weaker. It’s essential that any national law provide meaningful protections.

Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Santa Clara, said Thursday that he is confident that the Republican effort can be blocked. At the request of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Khanna drafted an Internet Bill of Rights last October that is helping drive the debate.

“If I were tech, I would get behind the California bill in a big, big way,” said Khanna. “The California law is very thoughtful, but we have the chance to go beyond the California law. For example, we can provide the means to let consumers know exactly how far their data goes. California law is a bit limited in how far you can trace data.”

The California law, known as the California Consumer Privacy Act, guarantees consumers the right to know what data is being collected by firms. That includes control over the right to access, download or transfer users’ information. The law gives Californians the ability to keep companies from selling their data. It dictates that companies must delete private data they have collected from users on request. Companies can be held liable for violations and data breeches. Finally, companies must post online their privacy policies on what data they collect from users and how it will be shared.

Social media companies such as Facebook are banking on their sense that Americans no longer care about privacy issues. It’s a huge roll of the dice.

In response to a Harris poll last November, 65 percent of Americans surveyed felt that data privacy was the nation’s most pressing social issue — even more important than health care, education and hunger. A 2018 Edelman survey revealed that only 30 percent of Americans trust social media platforms.

Rebuilding trust must be a priority for the tech industry if it hopes to maintain its competitive edge. Tech leaders should engage with California Democrats in the House of Representatives and help craft legislation that protects consumers’ basic rights while still allowing the innovation that drives the region’s economy.