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Consumer Reports urges Indiana Governor Holcomb to veto weak privacy bill

INDIANAPOLIS, IN Consumer Reports urges Governor Eric Holcomb to veto Senate Bill 5, a weak consumer data privacy bill that passed the Indiana General Assembly yesterday despite objections from consumer advocates. 

Sponsored by Senator Liz Brown, the bill includes some basic consumer rights, such as the right to know the information companies have collected about them, the right to delete that information, the right to correct inaccurate information, and the right to limit some data disclosures. However, those rights are undercut by weak definitions of sale and targeted advertising, 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. 

“Unfortunately, bad privacy bills are the trend this year,” said Matt Schwartz, policy analyst at Consumer Reports. “This bill contains too many provisions that conform to the wishes of the biggest privacy violators. It allows businesses to continue to collect copious amounts of data on consumers, only permitting them to put a stop to a fraction of it. The minimal rights consumers do gain do not go into effect for three more years and can only be asserted one by one relative to the thousands of businesses with which they interact. Governor Holcomb should veto this bill and instruct the legislature to come back with a stronger effort.”

If signed by Governor Holcomb, Senate Bill 5 would become the second comprehensive state privacy law to pass this year, following Iowa Senate File 262.