Washington Privacy Bill Fails -- For Third Straight Year

For the third straight year a proposed privacy law failed in Washington state, as lawmakers were unable to agree on how the measure would be enforced.

The Washington Privacy Act (SB 5062), introduced in January by Sen. Reuven Carlyle, would have required companies to obtain people's opt-in consent before drawing on “sensitive” data -- including precise geolocation data, biometric data and information that could reveal people's race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, health conditions, immigration status or sexual orientation -- for ad targeting.

The bill would also have required companies to allow people to delete data about themselves, and to opt out of the disclosure of non-sensitive data.

The Senate version of the bill, which passed overwhelmingly in January, would not have allowed consumers to sue over violations.

The House advanced a version of the bill that would have allowed consumers to enforce the measure via private lawsuits.

Washington state ended its legislative session for the year Sunday, without reconciling the different versions of the bill.

Advocacy groups have argued that consumers should be able to enforce laws by suing violators.

In January, Consumer Reports urged Carlyle to revise his proposed bill by allowing private lawsuits.

“Consumers should be able to hold companies accountable in some way for violating their rights -- there should be some form of a private right of action,” the organization said in a letter to the lawmaker.

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