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Key privacy bill clears the Virginia legislature and is expected to be signed into law

RICHMOND, VA — The Virginia state legislature advanced a key privacy measure, the Consumer Data Protection Act (CDPA). The legislation is expected to be signed into law by Governor Ralph Northam. Virginia would become only the second state, after California, to ratify a comprehensive privacy bill.

Like the landmark California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), Virginia’s CDPA gives consumers the right to access, delete, and stop the sale of their personal information. Companies would need consumers’ permission before collecting, using, or disclosing particularly sensitive information, such as information relating to racial or ethnic origin, genetic data, and geolocation data. Companies would also be required to protect the data from unauthorized access, such as by hackers. If approved by the governor, the bill becomes operative on January 1, 2023. 

Consumer Reports praised the legislature for taking action on privacy, while urging policymakers to consider adding additional protections for consumers.

“We commend the Virginia legislature for advancing comprehensive online privacy protections,” said Maureen Mahoney, policy analyst for Consumer Reports. “We urge Governor Northam to approve the measure, and for legislators to continue working in the next session to strengthen it. This bill has some important privacy provisions, but consumers need more practical options for controlling their data.”

Among the improvements recommended by CR are a requirement for a global opt-out browser setting that would let people easily communicate they want as little data sharing as possible. Another change sought by CR is to ensure that authorized agents can make privacy requests on behalf of consumers to a broad range of companies. Consumer Reports’ model state privacy bill outlines an effective framework for protecting consumer privacy.

Consumer Reports has played a leading role in advocating for strong state and federal privacy legislation, has extensively studied how the CCPA’s opt-out provision is working for consumers, and has worked to create tools for California consumers to more effectively exercise their digital rights under the CCPA.

Media contact: Cyrus Rassool, cyrus.rassool@consumer.org