WR reviews new data privacy bill

Oct 22, 2020
Written by Mark Johnson, Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs

Members of Washington Retail’s Data Privacy Workgroup met virtually with Senator Reuven Carlyle last week to discuss his latest draft of the Washington Privacy Act.

The data privacy bill introduced during the 2020 Legislative Session easily passed the Senate with one dissenting vote but was significantly altered by the House. It was narrowly passed back to the Senate for deliberations that failed to achieve an agreement involving both houses.

The new draft has several significant improvements:

  • It allows for a 30-day right to cure. This means that if a company makes an unintentional mistake and it is noted for correction, it has 30 days to make things right before being fined.
  • The entire section on regulating facial recognition was removed. This proved to be a lightning rod during session over concerns of racial profiling and tracking.
  • Contact tracing regulations have been added to the bill. This is intended to protect individuals’ personal information because state agencies, such as the Department of Health, trace COVID-19 infections with apps.

WR and its members want a bill that protects consumers’ personal information and gives them the right to control their data while at the same time allowing legitimate, law-abiding businesses to maintain the high level of customer service that consumers have grown to expect and demand.

Senator Carlyle will continue reaching out to interested parties to gain support for the new draft. The bill will be introduced for the 2021 Legislative Session that begins January 11 and runs for 105 days. It is still unclear if session will be in person, remote or a combination of the two.