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CookiePro Blog January 24, 2020

Washington State Announces 2 New Consumer Privacy Bills

The Washington State Legislature is working on two draft bills intended to regulate personal consumer data privacy and the use of facial recognition technology. If passed, the Washington Privacy Act would enact a comprehensive data protection framework for Washington residents that includes individual rights that go beyond the rights of the CCPA.

The updated version of The Washington Privacy Act (Senate Bill 6281) is based on best practices from the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).  It aims to provide Washington consumers with rights to ownership over their data as well as establish new transparency requirements for companies that process consumer data.  Consumers would have the right to access, delete, correct, and move their data, as well as the right to opt-out of data collection.

A separate bill (Senate Bill 6280), sponsored by Senator Joe Nguyen, is focused on addressing the public sector’s use and regulation of facial recognition technology.  Nguyen said the bill is positioned to “protect communities who have been disproportionally impacted by a whole host of things, whether it’s technology or otherwise.”

Stakeholders from the Washington Business community such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Comcast have been meeting with the Committee to update the bills based on concerns from last year’s attempt at passing the bill.  These stakeholders have been key players in the effort to enact privacy regulations in Washington state.  Julie Brill, Chief Privacy Officer of Microsoft reported in November that Microsoft will make changes required by California’s new data privacy law available to all its U.S. customers.  Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has also said the company’s public policy team is working on a set of proposed regulations for facial recognition technology.

Washington state is following California and a growing number of states’ efforts to solidify privacy protections in the absence of any forthcoming federal data privacy legislation.  We’ll keep you updated as we hear more about the legislation and the next steps.