OLYMPIA – House Democrats joined Governor Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson in Seattle this morning for the signing of a package of legislation focused on reproductive and healthcare protections. One of the bills, House Bill 1155, the WA My Health, My Data Act, is a historic and first in the nation solution aimed at protecting the personal health data of all Washingtonians. Introduced by Rep. Vandana Slatter, D-Bellevue, it also protects the health data of individuals who visit Washington seeking health care such as reproductive and gender affirming services.
At its core, House Bill 1155 will modernize Washington’s consumer protection framework to better regulate collection, sharing, and sale of private health data. Currently, websites, apps, and health tracking devices lack basic data privacy protections, much less the protections we expect for sensitive personal health data. Most consumers are completely unaware of it and have no way to consent to the collection and sharing of their private information.
In the aftermath of regressive policies passed by neighboring states and a major reversal of the Roe decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, this bill is an urgent and critical step to protect the privacy of personal health care decisions.
“As a mother and a pharmacist, I recognize the importance of protecting our health data and access to comprehensive health care. As a woman and a legislator, I am honored to have sponsored the My Health, My Data Act in the House to protect all Washingtonians health and data privacy in Washington state, including reproductive and gender affirming care.”
In its enacted form, House Bill 1155 guarantees Washingtonians:
- the right to withdraw consent and request data deletion
- restricts geo-fencing around health-care facilities
- prohibits collection and sharing of health data without consent
“Without a federal policy, this is where we are and the first in the nation bill we need,” added Rep. Slatter. “I’m grateful to my colleagues and the attorney general for choosing to rise to the occasion in protecting people’s right to privacy, personal agency and safe medical care.”
Enforcement mechanism for violations of HB 1155 provide the Attorney General’s Office the ability to investigate violations and pursue litigation. Additionally, Washingtonians may bring civil lawsuits through a private right of action.
“This law provides Washingtonians control over their personal health data,” Ferguson said. “Washingtonians deserve the right to decide who shares and sells their health data, and the freedom to demand that corporations delete their sensitive health data — and will now have these protections.”
House Bill 1155 provides requirements to obtain consent in order to collect, share, or sell consumer health data, to respond to requests to exercise a consumer right, and to meet specified obligations for regulated entities by March 31, 2024, and June 30, 2024, for small businesses.