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Consumer Reports urges Texas to bolster newly passed privacy bill

Austin,TX Consumer Reports calls on the Texas legislature to strengthen H.B. 4, a recently passed consumer data privacy bill.

The bill includes some important consumer rights, 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 information uncovered. 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. 

“While we applaud the Texas legislature for strengthening this bill by adding a universal opt-out provision, there are many additional ways it should be improved to better protect 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 if they sell it or not. The cure provisions in the administrative enforcement section are also far too deferential to businesses that break the law. We urge lawmakers in Texas to consider how they can build on this bill to provide the consumer protections their constituents truly deserve.”

If the Governor signs HB 4 into law, Texas will become the latest state to enact a comprehensive privacy law, joining the ranks of California, Utah, Virginia, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Indiana, Montana, and Tennessee.