ACLU says Washington data privacy bill is not consumer friendly

Apr 15, 2019, 5:09 AM | Updated: Apr 18, 2019, 9:51 am

In theory, Washington’s latest data privacy bill proposes to allow people to contact companies and ask what information they have on them. People could then ask the company to delete such data.

But it’s not so simple according to the ACLU, which argues that the state bill is not what it seems.

“Unfortunately, the reality and the marketing around this bill are two very different things,” said Shankar Narayan, technology and liberty project director with the ACLU. “It is being marketed as something that is supposed to give power back to the consumer in the area of data privacy.”

Washington State SB 5376 has already passed the Senate. The issue is now going through the House and is currently in committee. It’s referred to as the Washington Privacy Act.

“The first problem is that it was written by the technology companies themselves,” Narayan said. “And it was stacked up with loopholes so that a company that holds your data can override your consent around that data.”

“So if you withdraw your consent to their using your data, they can still come back and override that,” he said.

RELATED: Facebook shared your data again
RELATED: Can you survive an internet outage?

Naryan notes that there is little movement at the national level to regulate data privacy, so many states are taking on the task, such as California, which has passed strict rules.

“I think the technology companies have taken notice and are looking to enact weaker statutes in different states, including the one in Washington,” he said.

Data privacy

Consumers give over data to companies frequently in daily life, often without realizing it.

“When you use a service, when to do business online, even when you type a search term into a search browser, you are accepting a terms of service that largely allows your data to be shared and sold to third parties without you understanding that is going to happen,” Naryan said.

“The problem with that is that so much of our decision making is now data driven and those pieces of data can come back to bite you,”  he continued. “For example, when you try to get a job, or when you try to get a loan, those data brokers will have sold your data to a company that will then use an algorithm or a program to find out if you are worthy candidate for that loan or for that  job.”

Naryan argues that the “gold standard” for data privacy is the European model, where a business has to not only get consent to collect your data, but they also have to get consent for a specific business purpose.

“Here it’s kind of the opposite,” he said. “In Washington’s statute, we basically assume the business has a legitimate purpose and they are legitimately collecting. And the burden goes back on the consumer to come back and fight. And even if they withdraw their consent, the entity or business could simply declare it a different business purpose and continue to hold the data despite the fact that you have withdrawn consent.”

“So we think the more consumer-focused model of Europe, and California which has a similar model, is much better than making it optional for companies to decide and giving them so many different ways to override the will of the consumer,” he added.

Candy Mike and Todd

guns, assault weapons, gun, 1639, 1639 gun initiative, gun tax...
Mike Lewis

Mike: We should not restrict guns but their owners are different story

If you are a commercial pilot or general contractor likely you understand the value of licensing; So why not license gun owners?
3 years ago
snow day...
MyNorthwest Staff

What’s better for kids: a school snow day or a two-hour delay?

The recent snow fall stirred up a debate: What's better for kids, a snow day or two-hour delay?
3 years ago
shoveling snow...
MyNorthwest Staff

Candy: Everyone should shovel snow as a chore

Shoveling snow is a unique experience here in the Pacific Northwest. Here are five reasons everyone should shovel snow as a chore.
3 years ago
Todd Herman

The theft of parental rights in Washington state is unconscionable and immoral

Quoting a law passed in Democrat-controlled Washington state originally designed to make sure girls could get secret abortions, insurance companies have been writing to parents informing them they no longer have any rights to be involved in crucial, life-altering decisions their kids want to make.
3 years ago
MyNorthwest Staff

Guilt tipping has got to stop

We are seeing tipping pop up in unusual places. I've seen new tip lines at a craft store, clothing store, and a 7-11 in the last few months.
3 years ago
Space Needle fireworks, New Year's Eve, seattle baby...
MyNorthwest Staff

Tell me I’m wrong: Everyone should have a New Year’s resolution

What is preventing us from reaching our fitness goals the rest of the year? KIRO Radio's Candy Harper weighs in.
3 years ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
ACLU says Washington data privacy bill is not consumer friendly