Kloba Statement on Legislature Declining to Adopt Inadequate Washington Privacy Act

Rep. Shelley Kloba statement on Legislature declining to adopt the inadequate Washington Privacy Act:

The Washington Legislature has adjourned for the year and once again has declined to pass the Washington Privacy Act. Simply put, we would rather keep working toward a better bill that not only gives people rights with regard to their data, but also creates an opportunity for a meaningful remedy when those rights have been violated. We were not willing to accept a system that privileges corporations and denies the consumer effective recourse. A right is meaningless if there is not a way to enforce that right. Allowing a private right of action that does not include compensation for damages will not provide adequate incentive for companies to abide by the regulations. This bill would also have allowed corporations the unlimited right to cure violations of data privacy rights, a provision that makes it improbable that anyone would receive justice.

The desire remains for a law that minimizes data collection and holds companies accountable when they violate people’s rights. It is reasonable to allow for a grace period for companies to come into compliance with a new law, but that period of time should be finite. Companies should not have the ability to misuse people’s data without accountability. While the Washington Privacy Act failed to pass this year, I am confident that when we implement a data privacy policy in Washington, it will provide recourse for people whose data privacy rights have been violated. Consumers deserve a law that changes the current assumption that every time a consumer is online, every click should create a data point to be commodified. They deserve a law that creates privacy by design, rather than by exception.