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Consumer Reports calls on Iowa to strengthen newly passed privacy law

DES MOINES, IA Governor Kim Reynolds has signed a consumer data privacy bill (Senate File 26), into law, despite objections from consumer advocates. 

Consumer Reports is calling on the Iowa legislature to make amendments to the law during its next session to strengthen it to better protect the privacy of Iowans. 

While the law includes some basic consumer rights for Iowans, such as the right to know the information companies have collected about them, the right to delete that information, and the right to limit some data disclosures, those rights are undercut by weak definitions of what constitutes a sale and targeted advertising. It offers no universal opt out or authorized agent provisions, and it has insufficient enforcement mechanisms. The bill also allows companies to discriminate against consumers who exercise their right to opt out by denying service or charging extra. 

“This industry friendly law needs a lot of work to get to a place where it can meaningfully protect consumers in Iowa,” said Matt Schwartz, policy analyst at Consumer Reports. “The legislature should look to improve this bill as quickly as practicable, starting with adding a universal opt out provision. If Iowa is committed to an opt out bill, the very least it can do is ensure that consumers are actually able to use their rights at scale.”

Senate File 262 is the sixth comprehensive state privacy law, following laws in California, Utah, Virginia, Colorado, and Connecticut.