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Consumer Reports praises Maryland legislature for passing groundbreaking privacy bill

Annapolis, Maryland — The Maryland state legislature advanced a privacy bill supported by Consumer Reports that marks a significant development in state privacy law. If the bill is approved by Governor Wes Moore, Maryland would become the sixteenth state to extend baseline privacy rights to consumers, including the right to access, delete, and stop the sale of their personal information. CR worked with lawmakers throughout the session to improve the legislation, including by requiring stricter treatment of sensitive data and data collected pursuant to loyalty programs. It is scheduled to go into effect on October 1, 2025. 

The Maryland bill, SB 541, has several novel provisions that make it much stronger than most state privacy bills, including:

  • Data minimization provisions that prevent companies from collecting personal information for any purposes outside of providing the product or service consumers asked for.
  • Special protections for sensitive data that would ban third-party targeted advertising and data sales based on certain personal characteristics, such as race, religious beliefs, and health. The bill also bans third-party targeted advertising to minors, as well as sales of minors’ personal information.
  • Strong civil rights protections that ensure a business cannot process personal data to discriminate against individuals or otherwise make opportunity or public accommodation unavailable on the basis of protected classes. 

“We commend Maryland lawmakers for pushing back against Big Tech lobbying and enacting truly meaningful privacy legislation that will protect the personal information of their constituents,” said Matt Schwartz, policy analyst at Consumer Reports. “CR has long championed data minimization provisions like those included in SB 541 because they will protect consumers by default, instead of requiring them to make endless consent choices in order to fully protect themselves. Bright line bans of harmful data practices, such as the sale of sensitive information and third-party targeted advertisements to children are also extremely welcome. We look forward to continuing to work with policymakers to uphold and expand these key protections.”

If SB 541 is signed by Governor Moore,  Maryland would become the fourth state to pass a comprehensive privacy law this year, following New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Kentucky. 

Contact: Cyrus Rassool, cyrus.rassool@consumer.org