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Consumer Reports urges Iowa Governor Reynolds to veto weak privacy bill

DES MOINES, IA Consumer Reports urges Governor Kim Reynolds to veto Senate File 262, a weak consumer data privacy bill that passed the Iowa General Assembly yesterday despite objections from consumer advocates. 

Sponsored by Senator Chirs Cournoyer and Representative Ray Sorenson, 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, 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. 

“This Iowa bill sells consumers incredibly short and fails to rein in major tech companies like Facebook and Google,” said Matt Schwartz, policy analyst at Consumer Reports. “It represents a wishlist of industry-sought provisions by offloading all the responsibility for privacy protection onto the individual with almost no substantive limitations on how companies collect or process data. We’ve seen other states develop bills that better protect the privacy rights of consumers, for example just yesterday the Kentucky Senate passed legislation (S.B. 15) that is stronger than this bill in almost every way. Unfortunately this legislation will not benefit consumers in its current form. We urge Governor Reynolds to veto the bill.”

If signed by the Governor, Senate File 262 would become the sixth comprehensive state privacy law, following laws in California, Utah, Virginia, Colorado, and Connecticut.