Privacy Bill Clears Washington State Senate

The Washington State Senate has passed a privacy bill that would give state residents new rights over data collection and use, including the right to opt out of targeted advertising.

The Washington Privacy Act, which cleared the Senate 46-1 late Friday, now moves to the House where its future is uncertain.

A similar bill was passed by the state Senate last year, but stalled in the House.

Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle), who sponsored the measure, stated late last week that the bill “takes the best practices from Europe, California and other states to build a data privacy regulatory framework that will help set a standard and lead the nation in bringing our data privacy laws into the 21st century.”

The bill gives residents the right to access data about themselves, correct errors, delete the information, and opt out of having their data used for ad targeting and profiling.

If enacted, the bill's restrictions would generally apply to companies that conduct business in Washington and handle data of at least 100,000 consumers a year. (Data brokers that derive at least 50% of revenue from selling data are subject to the bill if they handle data of more than 25,000 consumers.)

The measure passed by the Senate does not contain a controversial provision that would allow consumers to bring private lawsuits over violations. Privacy advocates have said consumers should be able to sue to enforce the measure, but the ad industry argues that allowing individuals to bring lawsuits would encourage frivolous litigation.

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