OLYMPIA – Technologic innovations typically benefit state residents, but they can also cause problems.
Rep. Jeff Morris (D-Mt. Vernon), chair of the House Technology and Economic Development Committee, has introduced two bills to protect consumers from these unforeseen issues.
Keeping personal information at state agencies safer: Many state agencies collect information about Washingtonians, from the Department of Licensing to the Department of Revenue. HB 2278 requires all state agencies to beef up how they track, hold and protect that data. The bill also prohibits state agencies from selling personal information to businesses and other organizations, according to Morris.
“I understand some agencies need our personal information – a driver’s license is a good example,” Morris said. “If we are required to provide that kind of information, state agencies should be required to keep it safe.”
Requiring electronic product manufacturers to allow fair servicing and repair of their products: Most of these manufacturers don’t allow third party businesses to service and repair their digital devices. HB 2279 requires manufacturers to make certain information, parts and tools available to other repair businesses.
“This recently came up with Apple and their phones,” Morris said. “The company slowed service to older phones – they said to preserve battery life. At that point your only option was to pay Apple $80 to replace your battery, or buy a new phone.” Morris said a competitive repair market gives consumers more options and less expensive alternatives.
Last year Morris introduced – and the Legislature passed – a bill to protect consumers from companies using and selling a person’s biometric data they capture as you use the Internet.
Both bills are expected to move out of committee Jan. 17.