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Consumer Reports praises Montana legislature for passing a comprehensive data privacy bill

Helena, Montana — Today, the Montana state legislature advanced a new privacy bill supported by Consumer Reports. If the bill is approved by Governor Greg Gianforte, Montana would become the eighth state, after California, Virginia, Colorado, Utah, Connecticut, Iowa, and Indiana 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 adding universal opt out provisions and removing certain exemptions. It is scheduled to go into effect on October 1, 2024. 

The Montana bill, SB 384, has key provisions missing from some other state laws that will make it more workable for consumers:

  • The bill requires companies to honor browser privacy signals, such as the Global Privacy Control, so that consumers can opt out of data sales at all companies in a single step;
  • It prohibits the use of so-called “dark patterns” in obtaining consent;
  • The bill places a sunset on the “right to cure” in administrative enforcement, so that after April 1, 2026, companies will no longer have a “get out of jail free” card for failing to protect consumer privacy.

“We commend Montana lawmakers for advancing meaningful privacy legislation that will help protect the personal information of their constituents,” said Matt Schwartz, policy analyst at Consumer Reports. “This bill has come a long way since its initial introduction. Senator Zolnikov has worked tirelessly to address the needs and concerns of a wide variety of stakeholders, which has resulted in a strong piece of legislation. We look forward to continuing to work with policymakers to uphold and expand these key protections.”

If signed by Governor Gianforte, SB 384 would become the third comprehensive state privacy law to pass this year, following Iowa and Indiana.

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