Washington’s legislature is trying to pass the weak, industry-backed Bad Washington Privacy Act for the fourth year in a row, as well as a different bill advanced from the House. Whether together or separate, these bills only protect people’s privacy in theory, not in practice.
The Bad Washington Privacy Act (SB 5062) in the Senate.
The well-intended but faulty Foundational Data Privacy Act (HB 1850) in the House.
HB 1850 is in the House Rules committee, and SB 5062 is still NTIB in Ways and Means. There’s only one week left in the legislative Session, and an updated draft substitute bill hasn’t even been released. It’s pretty wacky. It might even be considered malarkey! 🤪 🙀
These bills let corporations continue abusing our data and do nothing to protect our privacy. They simply formalize corporations’ access to our data, without our permission, in return for an annual fee paid to the state. That’s right – the state is partnering with big tech to turn our data into a revenue stream!
Big tech lobbyists have a lot of influence in Washington, and they’re twisting arms and calling in favors.
So we’re going to have to make a lot of noise over the next week to prevent these bad bills from passing!
How to do this:
Choose the short webform comment version OR the longer version you can email yourself … or both!
How to send a note your legislators about privacy legislation
Using the web form
Commenting on a bill on the state legislature’s web site lets you forward your comments to one or all of your state legislatures.
2 Bills, 2 Comments! You can DO this! 💪
- Fill in your address and click Verify District
- Choose your position (OPPOSE)
- Select the legislators you want to sent it to
- Fill out the rest of the form and click on Send Comment.
You can copy-and-paste the script here as a starting point for your comments, or write them from scratch if you prefer. We’ve also provided two examples of data abuse you can use. The web form only allows 1000 characters, so you’ll have to choose one or the other.
Please OPPOSE both HB 1850 and SB 5062. These bills don’t protect me or my data. They allow corporate access to our data in return for an annual fee paid to the state.
HB 1850 creates a new data privacy commission with no transparency or oversight, and the House rejected SB 5062 last year. These bills don’t provide the minimum of protections we need. They’re filled with loopholes, exceptions, exemptions, and nuanced definitions that allow the continued exploitation and abuse of our data.
Here is an example:
[CHOOSE ONE EXAMPLE FROM BELOW]
College Prep Software Naviance, used by thousands of schools in WA, is selling access to millions of students. (https://bit.ly/NaviancePrivacy) A lot of data they share with an affiliate company is very personal: mental health information, psychological survey results, even sexual orientation. HB 1850 and SB5062 won’t prevent this abuse, and that’s not OK!
Last month, Inside Higher Ed published an article about grave privacy concerns for young folks with Course Hero Contends with Student Privacy Concerns. https://bit.ly/CourseHeroPrivacy HB 1850 and SB 5062 give students and parents no remedy to stop companies like Coursehero from this kind of data abuse.
Emailing your lawmakers’ email
(Lawmakers are getting so much email that we recommend calling as well, and letting them know you’re following up with an email. If you don’t have time for that, just sending an email is OK, too!)
- If you’re not sure what who your Reps & Senators are, start by looking up your district using the legislature’s District Finder
- Write their names down or keep the tab open, look up your Reps’ and Senator’s actual email addresses and office phone numbers HERE
- Compose your email. You can either send a single email to all three of your lawmakers, or send it to each one separately.
- OPTIONAL: If you’d like to, BCC us at WAPeoplesPrivacyNetwork@gmail.com in your email!
Here’s a script you can copy and paste — or see below for how to contact your legislators by phone. Make sure to add your name and city at the bottom!
Please OPPOSE both data privacy bills, HB 1850 and SB 5062. These bills don’t protect me or my data. They simply formalize corporations’ access to our data, without our permission, in return for an annual fee paid to the state.
HB 1850 creates a new data privacy commission with no transparency or oversight. But there’s very little enforcing that can be done by this commission because the regulations it’s supposed to enforce are so weak.
SB 5062 is the bad Washington Privacy Act, which the House rejected last year. The bad Washington Privacy Act doesn’t provide even the bare minimum of protections. It’s filled with loopholes, exceptions, exemptions, and nuanced definitions that allow corporations to continue to exploit and abuse our data.
Here are two examples of how these bills let big tech companies continue to exploit and abuse kids’ data.
Last month, the Markup published an article about how College Prep Software Naviance Is Selling Advertising Access to Millions of Students. This software is used by thousands of schools in Washington. Some of the data they share with another company called EAB is intensely personal: mental health information, the results of psychological surveys, and even sexual orientation. Some schools require students to complete these surveys in order to graduate. EAB uses that data to target ads at students. It’s likely also being used for other purposes, but parents are having a really hard time finding that out. Other data categories may include information that, while not categorized as “sensitive,” links to being able to predict or identify students’ race and/or ethnicity, languages spoken, socio-economic status, religion, political affinities, and other personally identifying info. HB 1850 and SB5062 won’t stop Naviance and other companies from this kind of data abuse.
And Inside Higher Ed published an article about the grave privacy concerns for young folks with these kinds of practices, titled Course Hero Contends with Student Privacy Concerns. CourseHero has students upload their papers to get free access to the site and other content. But doing that gives Course Hero rights to publish those papers, and to make them public. Students’ personal essays and papers may contain deeply personal accounts of assault, rape, abuse, trauma, suicide or depression. HB 1850 and SB5062 gives students and parents no remedy to stop companies like Coursehero from this kind of data abuse.
Individuals and groups advocating for civil rights and liberties, racial justice, immigrant rights, workers’ rights, and children’s privacy have already come out in opposition to these bills. For more about the harms this bad privacy legislation could cause, please read “Tech Companies Want to Write Their Own Rules on Data Privacy. Don’t Let Them.” in the South Seattle Emerald
If you prefer to call, the legislative hotline at 1–800–562–6000 (TTY for Hearing Impaired 800.833.6388) lets you get a message to all your legislators at once.
- Tell them the you’re calling about two bills, SB 5062 and HB 1850; that your position is OPPOSE on both, and that you want to leave a comment.
- They’ll ask for your address, and then what you want to comment each bill.
You can keep it simple if you want – “Please oppose SB 5062. This bill does not not protect our privacy.” – or go into more detail.