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Consumer Reports praises Vermont legislature for passing groundbreaking privacy bill

Montpelier, Vermont — The Vermont 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 Phil Scott, Vermont would become the eighteenth 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 data minimization standards and a private right of action that will allow consumers to sue large companies when they violate the law. It is scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2025. 

The Vermont bill, H. 121, 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.
  • A private right of action that would allow consumers to sue when large companies misuse data about their race, religion, sexual orientation, health, or other categories of sensitive 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 Vermont lawmakers for standing strong in the face of 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. “The inclusion of a private right of action in this law, while limited, is enormously significant. It means that consumers who have been harmed by Big Tech’s data abuses will actually be granted the ability to defend their rights. We hope this marks a turning point in state privacy law, where lawmakers will become more comfortable with the idea of providing strong enforcement remedies for consumers, instead of punting the issue to under-resourced AG’s offices. We look forward to continuing to work with policymakers to uphold and expand these key protections.”

If H. 121 is signed by Governor Scott, Vermont would become the sixth state to pass a comprehensive privacy law this year, following New Jersey, New Hampshire, Kentucky, Nebraska, and Maryland. 

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