New York Lawmaker Introduces Broad Privacy Bill

A New York state lawmaker has once again proposed broad privacy legislation that would require companies to obtain opt-in consent from consumers before processing their data for ad targeting.

The New York Privacy Act, introduced this week by state Senator Kevin Thomas, would also give consumers the right to access, correct and delete data about themselves.

The measure also requires companies to honor “user-enabled privacy controls” -- including browser settings and plug-ins -- that communicate consumers' preferences to avoid receiving targeted ads, and to not have their data sold.

“Consumers should have a right to choose if and how their personal information is collected and used by companies,” Thomas stated Thursday.

The bill's statement of legislative intent contains sweeping language, including that privacy “is a fundamental right and an essential element of freedom.”



“Companies collect, use and share our personal information in ways that can be difficult for ordinary consumers to understand,” the bill states. “Behavioral advertising generates profits by turning people into products and their activity into assets.”

Thomas first introduced a similar privacy bill in 2019. That measure stalled after drawing heated opposition from some business groups, including the Silicon Valley lobbying organization Internet Association.

John Olsen, director for state governmental affairs at the Internet Association, testified in 2019 that the privacy bill was “unworkable.”

It's not clear yet whether this year's bill will gain traction.

In other parts of the country, new privacy laws have met with mixed success. Voters in California voted last November to expand the state's already broad privacy law. Virginia also approved a new privacy bill.

But closely watched measures in other states -- including Washington, Oklahoma and Florida -- failed to advance.

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