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Washington State Privacy Bill Fails to Advance; Consumer Reports Says Weak Bill Did Not Provide Meaningful Protections

Thursday, April 18, 2019

A data privacy bill in the Washington State Legislature was declared “dead” by state lawmakers after the bill (SB 5376) failed to receive a House vote by an April 17 deadline.

Consumer Reports and other public interest organizations opposed the bill, saying it failed to provide meaningful privacy protections for consumers, and it contained too many exemptions that allowed companies to decide whether to honor consumer choices about the use of their information.

While the legislation could be revived before the regular session ends on April 28, lawmakers in Olympia have told media they do not expect the bill to advance.

Justin Brookman, Director of Consumer Privacy and Technology Policy for Consumer Reports, said, “The Washington privacy bill was filled with loopholes.  It would have let companies decide whether to honor user choices over what happens to their data.  If this bill had become law, it would have set a dangerously weak precedent for privacy.  Washington state legislators should start over in the next session with a better bill that puts consumers first, and they should seek more input from stakeholders beyond the companies that were pushing hard for this bill.”