WA People’s Privacy Network was one of the 20+ organizations that signed on to this letter, sent today to Speaker Jinkins, Minority Leader Wilcox, and the members of Washington’s House of Representatives.
Dear Speaker Jinkins, Minority Leader Wilcox, and Members of the House of Representatives,
We, the Tech Equity Coalition, alongside organizations representing diverse communities throughout Washington State, urge the Legislature to ensure that any data privacy bill that is advanced meaningfully protects people’s privacy and ensures that people have the power to control if and how their personal information is collected, used, and shared. Non-transparent,non-consensual, and unaccountable collection and use of our personal information has harmful consequences  for everyone, but particularly for the most marginalized communities.
The Washington State Legislature should take meaningful action to protect Washingtonians. SHB 1850 is still largely based on last year’s SB 5062 and inherits many of that bill’s problems. SHB 1850 does have some significant improvements over SB 5062. We appreciate that this bill includes a private right of action as well as a funded privacy commission, and we thank the sponsors for making very important changes to the definitions of “sharing” and “targeted advertising.”
However, SHB 1850, as written, still falls far short of the bar needed to provide meaningful privacy protections. SHB 1850 still:
a. Does not require opt-in consent to collect, use, and share all data (Sec. 9);
b. Allows companies to share consumers’ personal information with affiliated companies without a consumer’s knowledge or consent (Sec. 3(37));
c. Undermines consumers’ ability to access and obtain data that a controller may have obtained from a data broker or other sources due to the opt-out framework (Sec. 9);
d. Allows for warrantless data sharing with law enforcement (Sec. 12(c));
e. Preempts local jurisdictions from passing stronger privacy protections (Sec. 22);
f. Limits the attorney general’s ability to enforce privacy violations with a “right to cure” provision (Sec. 19);
g. Does not adequately protect children’s privacy (Sec. 3(21);
h. Does not require consent to use people’s data for research (Sec. 12(h));
i. Allows companies to avoid responsibility for sharing data with third parties (Sec. 12(4));
j. Exempts nonprofits, institutions of higher ed, employment data, and personal data covered by some federal laws, even where not necessary (Sec. 4); and
k. Contains a number of other loopholes in its definitions, qualifying language, and overbroad exemptions.
We want to highlight that these issues are all in the text inherited from SB 5062. As has been reported, industry interests across the country have been pushing for the adoption of bills like SB 5062  that, by intentional design, do not give people meaningful privacy rights. “Big Tech Is Pushing States to Pass Privacy Laws, and Yes, You Should Be Suspicious” in The Markup  and “The Amazon lobbyists who kill U.S. consumer privacy protections,” in Reuters  are two examples.
Should the Washington State Legislature attempt to pass a data privacy law this session, at a minimum, the following provisions  must be included for such a law to truly protect Washingtonians.
- Opt-in Consent
- Protection of People, Not Just Consumers
- Coverage of All Personal Information
- Strong Non-Waivable Privacy Rights
- Limitations on Use and Data Minimization
- Limited Exemptions
- Prohibition of Dark Patterns
- No Economic Coercion
- Civil Rights Protections
- Restrictions on Sharing, Selling, and Disclosing Information
- No Preemption of Stronger Privacy Laws
- Strong Private Right of Action
We encourage this Committee to make changes to SHB 1850 to meet the minimum provisions for a strong data privacy bill. If these minimum provisions cannot be included, we urge you to oppose SHB 1850.
We urge you to pass strong data privacy legislation and make Washington a leader in
championing meaningful data privacy protections.
ACLU of Washington
Imagine No Kages
Indivisible Bainbridge Island
Indivisible North Kitsap
Indivisible Plus Washington
Indivisible Snohomish County
Indivisible Washington’s 8th District
Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), Seattle Chapter
MAPS-AMEN (American Muslim Empowerment Network)
Parent Coalition for Student Privacy
People First Bellingham
Poor People’s Campaign
WA People’s Privacy Network
2 ACLU-WA Feedback on HB 1850 | ACLU of Washington
6 Data privacy guiding principles described in greater detail alongside a bill comparison chart: https://www.aclu-