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Consumer Reports calls on Tennessee to strengthen newly passed privacy bill

NASHVILLE,TN Consumer Reports urges Governor Bill Lee to veto SB 73, a weak consumer data privacy bill that passed the Tennessee General Assembly today despite objections from consumer advocates. 

The bill includes some basic consumer rights, such as the right to know the information companies have collected about them, the right to delete certain information, and the right to limit some data disclosures. However, those rights are undercut by weak definitions of sale and targeted advertising, wide exemptions for pseudonymous information, no universal opt out or authorized agent provisions, and 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. 

“Tennessee is on the verge of following a worrisome trend of states passing weak, industry supported privacy laws,” said Matt Schwartz, policy analyst at Consumer Reports. “This bill joins those in Iowa and Indiana by masquerading as a consumer privacy measure, when, in reality, it simply codifies the status quo preferred by large tech companies. It offloads all the responsibility for privacy protection onto the individual with almost no substantive limitations on how companies collect or process data. We urge Governor Lee to veto the bill.”

If the Governor signs SB 73 into law, Tennessee will become the latest state to enact a comprehensive privacy law, joining the ranks of California, Utah, Virginia, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Indiana, and Montana.