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Washington Privacy Act Fails to Advance, Consumer Reports Calls on other States to Pass Meaningful Privacy Legislation

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington State legislature failed to advance the Consumer Reports-supported Washington Privacy Act by the end of the 2021 legislative session. The bill would have extended new rights to Washingtonians to access, delete, correct, and opt out of the sale of their personal information, with additional protections for sensitive data. The bill would have also required companies to keep this data secure, and prohibited companies from charging consumers for exercising their rights under the law. 

The House bill was a significant improvement over the previous version passed by the Washington state Senate, and it addressed many of the improvements CR recommended in an op-ed published earlier this month. Amendments added by the House included a requirement that companies honor browser privacy signals as opt-outs, so that consumers can convey their intention to all companies to stop the sale of their information in a single step. The bill also clarified that consumers could opt out of targeted advertising, and significantly strengthened enforcement of the bill, adding a private right of action so consumers could hold companies accountable for violating their rights.

Maureen Mahoney, senior policy analyst at Consumer Reports, said, “Washingtonians deserve meaningful privacy protections. While we’re disappointed that lawmakers failed to advance the Washington Privacy Act, which would have secured key protections for Washington consumers, we appreciate the work that went into strengthening the measure. We urge legislators in other states to advance privacy legislation that puts consumers first.”

Washington was one of several states where lawmakers considered privacy measures in the wake of California’s landmark privacy law, which took effect in 2020.

Contact: Cyrus Rassool, cyrus.rassool@conumser.org