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Senator taking on digital privacy rights with Washington Privacy Act

State senator Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle) is taking on digital privacy rights for consumers with the Washington Privacy Act, which aims to strengthen consumer rights as it relates to the digital services offered in Washington state.

Will Google and Facebook try to oppose it? Carlyle joined The Jason Rantz Show to discuss why he feels such an act is necessary.

“You have a central right to access and understand your own data, who’s accessing it, why, and what they’re doing with it. You have a right to check in on that data and understand who’s selling it and what’s happening with it,” Carlyle said.

“You have a right to correct it. If you think about your credit report, you have a right to check in with your credit report and check if it’s accurate, and say, ‘Hey, wait a minute, I paid that bill.’ Same thing ought to occur with your private data. And then you have a right to delete it.”

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Carlyle says he hopes to adopt the European standards for privacy, which companies like Amazon and Facebook have already begun to abide by overseas. Carlyle says that locally, Microsoft has supported the bill, and Amazon has remained neutral. The act would guarantee a few basic rights, including accessing your data, the ability to update and correct it, to choose how it’s being shared, and the right to object to how it’s being shared.

For Jason, what slightly undercuts the logic of the bill is that it does what people often are unwilling to do themselves. We often say yes to any terms of service agreement if it allows us to use a product like Gmail for free, and then get outraged by the use of data after the fact.

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“That’s a fair critique, and I think we’re all guilty of that a little bit. And there’s no question that there’s a social contract in terms of getting free services or applications that you value in exchange for giving your data,” Carlyle said.

“I think the fundamental issue is that consumers and citizens have a right to know what’s going on, and a right to know how their data is flowing.”

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