OLYMPIA, Wash. — Today, Washington state Rep. Shelley Kloba (D – Kirkland) introduced a new data privacy bill, the People’s Privacy Act (HB 1433), to provide a people-focused, community-supported solution to the growing need to protect individual personal data both online and offline. The bill:
- requires entities covered by the legislation to provide clear and accessible data privacy policies,
- requires affirmative, opt-in consent for the collection and use of personal information,
- prohibits companies from refusing to serve, or charge higher prices to, customers who choose not to allow the use of their personal data,
- makes it unlawful for companies and government agencies to use people’s personal information to discriminate against them, and
- provides individuals with access to the courts to enforce their privacy rights.
The bill covers corporations, government agencies, and organizations that meet a specific threshold for the number of individual records collected or the amount of their annual revenue.
“The People’s Privacy Act will put people back in control of their own data. It’s really privacy by design,” said Kloba. “Companies will not be able to use your data unless you have given your express authorization. We have debated this issue for the past two years, but since March it has really taken on a new urgency. We shed data with every online interaction and with so much of our lives now lived online, it is vital that we enact this legislation this year.”
The People’s Privacy Act was created by the ACLU of Washington with input and support from the Tech Equity Coalition, a group of civil liberties and civil rights-focused organizations and individuals working to hold technology accountable and lift the voices of historically marginalized communities in decisions about technology and its use by government and corporate interests. The bill provides a strong people-focused alternative to SB 5062 (Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D - LD 36), which allows companies to override people’s decisions about if and how their information is collected, used, and shared. Unlike SB 5062, the People’s Privacy Act is enforceable through a private right of action, meaning that individuals would be able to sue covered entities that violate the Act.
“As people go about their daily lives, they create data points that tell the story of their lives. Unfortunately, in current practice, corporations use that information to target and attempt to manipulate people in many undisclosed ways. People should have the right to protect their privacy and decide what happens to their information,” said Jennifer Lee, ACLU of Washington Technology and Liberty Project Manager. “Washingtonians deserve meaningful, enforceable privacy protections that put people first. The People’s Privacy Act provides an opt-in solution that truly is the gold standard of privacy protection.”
"In our increasingly digitized world, the tech titans are pushing in state, federal, and international spaces for data rules that undermine everyday people's right to privacy. It's the Washington state Legislature's obligation to set high standards for data privacy that give everyday people control over their personal data," said Hillary Haden, Executive Director of the WA Fair Trade Coalition, a member of the Tech Equity Coalition.
"We are long overdue for a privacy bill that protects the people and our civil rights, given the increase in data collection, privacy breaches, and mass surveillance — all of which disproportionately impact marginalized communities. Washington can provide a gold standard for such protection, and Washingtonians should unite to defend privacy, safety, and fairness by supporting the People's Privacy Act," said Aneelah Afzali, Executive Director of the American Muslim Empowerment Network at the Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS-AMEN), a member of the Tech Equity Coalition.
For more information about the People's Privacy Act, visit the Washington state Legislature’s website: https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1433&Year=2021&Initiative=false
For stories about how data misuse harms individuals, visit this resource page created by coveillance: https://coveillance.org/mapping/#id-appendix-i-stories-sources-59
For more information about the Tech Equity Coalition, visit: https://www.aclu-wa.org/pages/tech-equity-coalition