Data Privacy Bill in Legislative Docket

Update: it appears that the Legislature is doing even more.  This from a story in the Puget Sound Business Journal.
A bipartisan group of Washington state lawmakers on Wednesday introduced companion measures, House Bill 2200 and Senate Bill 5919, to update the state’s consumer protection act and require internet service providers operating in the state to obtain a customer’s permission before selling data.

Internet service providers including Comcast, Verizon and AT&T released statements since Congress appealed the FCC rules, claiming they don’t intend to sell customers’ browsing histories.
end of update

The Times had an op-ed today from State Rep. North Smith, R-Clinton, who serves as the ranking Republican member on the House Technology and Economic Development Committee about a bill - HB 1904 - that she is sponsoring.

In her op-ed she says,
The protection of your personal data and privacy is crucila, which is why I want to make one thing very clear; while contressional Republicans may be making it easier to sell your data, lawmakers in Olympia have a strong recrod of accomplishment in protecting your personal information. 
She goes on,
House Bill 1904 has bipartisan support in the House, and is one of the few revenue bills that will be on the table during final budget negotiations this sessions. 
The bill hasn't even made it out of the House committee so I have to wonder.

I looked at the bill and here's what I see:

The legislature finds that there are various businesses engaged in accumulating the personal data that is available to be collected on Washingtonians, aggregating or compiling that
information, and reselling it without any compensation to the people of the state. This is a new business model that has flourished and is anticipated to grow as more people and more devices are connected with ever-increasing frequency for an ever greater number of innovative applications. As such, the legislature intends to have this unique and growing industry set apart with its own individual tax rate. This will provide transparency on the number of businesses and volume of activity in this industry, and allow for fair compensation of Washingtonians on whose information these businesses profit.

So it won't protect against data gathering but rather tax (some) of those who do it.  And this would be public information so consumers would know who is using your data.  

There is a huge list of businesses that would be taxed but then there's this:
(b) "Digital automated service" does not include:
(vi) Telecommunications services and ancillary services as those terms are defined in RCW 82.04.065;
(vii) The internet and internet access as those terms are defined in RCW 82.04.297;
(viii) The service described in RCW 82.04.050(6)(((b))) (c);
(ix) Online educational programs provided by a:
(A) Public or private elementary or secondary school; or
 That's a pretty broadly based group of businesses.

But I applaud the effort because it has to start somewhere and the idea of taxing businesses for mining data makes me smile.

I still want to pass a student data privacy bill but until McCleary is done, it's hard to get much traction on it. 


Jimmy Mehr said…
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