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Consumer Reports urges Nebraska to strengthen newly passed privacy bill

Lincoln, NE Consumer Reports calls on the Nebraska legislature to strengthen L.B. 1294, a recently passed consumer data privacy bill that was included in L.B. 1074, an omnibus legislative package. 

The bill includes some important consumer protections, such as the right to know the information companies have collected about them, the right to correct and delete that information, and the right to limit some data disclosures through universal opt-out mechanisms. However, the bill only applies to businesses that sell personal information and are not a small business under the SBA definition, leaving a wide swath of personal information unprotected. The bill also contains insufficient enforcement mechanisms and allows companies to discriminate against consumers who exercise their right to opt out by denying service or charging extra. 

“This legislation needs to be strengthened in numerous ways before it can genuinely offer real privacy protections for Nebraska consumers,” said Matt Schwartz, policy analyst at Consumer Reports. “This bill should apply to any entity that collects and processes significant amounts of consumer data, regardless of whether they sell it or not. On top of that, this bill does not include any sort of meaningful default restrictions on how companies collect or use personal data. Instead, it burdens consumers with the responsibility of opting out to protect themselves. The cure provisions in the administrative enforcement section are also far too deferential to businesses that break the law. We urge lawmakers in Nebraska to consider how they can strengthen this bill to provide the consumer protections their constituents truly deserve.”

If Governor Jim Pillen signs L.B. 1074 into law, Nebraska will become the fourth state to enact a comprehensive privacy law this year, following New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Kentucky. Maryland’s recently passed privacy bill is also pending the Governor’s signature.  

Contact: cyrus.rassool@consumer.org