Washington State Preps New Privacy Bill

Lawmakers in Washington state are preparing to introduce a privacy bill that would give consumers the right to control how data about them is collected and used.

The measure would specifically allow consumers to opt out of data collection, according to GeekWire. It would also enable consumers to learn what data about them has been gathered, and request its deletion or correction. Other provisions would require companies to tell consumers why their information is being gathered, and to minimize data collection.

The new bill, expected to be introduced next year, will also reportedly include restrictions on the use of facial recognition technology.

State lawmakers considered a privacy bill earlier this year, but the measure stalled. That failed bill, the Washington Privacy Act (SB 5376), would have allowed consumers to learn what data is collected about them and whether the information is sold to outside companies.

State Senator Reuven Carlyle, who sponsored the earlier proposal, said in a tweet that he was “committed to a comprehensive, well-crafted, strong privacy bill.”

The measure would be enforceable by the attorney general, but consumers wouldn't be able to sue over violations.

The proposed law that failed earlier this year was supported by Microsoft, but opposed by other groups -- including the ad industry as well as privacy advocates.

The Association of National Advertisers and other ad industry groups argued that any legislation regarding online privacy should be national.

Advocacy groups also criticized that earlier proposal, arguing it had too many loopholes. Groups including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Consumer Reports told Washington state lawmakers that bill was so weak that it would “set a dangerous precedent for privacy legislation nationally and in the states.”

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