Ding dong, the Washington Privacy Act is dead—for 2019, anyway.
Following in the footsteps of California, Washington came before the state legislature on Jan. 18, becoming the second state in the nation to advocate for its own set of rules to allow consumers more control over their data.
Senate Bill 5376, known as the Washington Privacy Act (WPA) and sponsored by State Senator Reuven Carlyle, was developed in response to the rapid advancement of technology and the proliferation of data collection among today’s businesses. The legislation explains: “As technology and businesses continue to push the limits of data collection with exponential rapidity, laws must keep pace as technology and business practices evolve to protect businesses and consumers.”
The WPA, however, ultimately did not receive a House vote before an April 17 deadline for action on policy-related legislation and now appears to be stuck in limbo. A number of advocacy groups came forward in support of the bill while many still remain opposed to any privately mandated privacy regulation—calling instead for a federal law.
According to law firm Hunton Andrews Kurth, the bill could return before regular session ends on April 28, but “Washington lawmakers expressed doubt.” In addition, notes the firm, Washington Chief Privacy Officer Alex Alben said the rules would not be discussed again during this session.
A Twitter statement from Sen. Carlyle reads: “We built alignment that well-crafted, strong [data privacy] is imperative to consumers and society. Unfortunately, [the] House failed to pass privacy legislation this year. We’re committed to 2020.”
#WashingtonPrivacyAct SB 5376 passed the #waleg Senate with unprecedented 46-1 vote. We built alignment that well-crafted, strong #dataprivacy is imperative to consumers and society. Unfortunately, House failed to pass privacy legislation this year. We're committed to 2020.— Sen. Reuven Carlyle (@Reuvencarlyle) April 18, 2019
Much like the California Consumer Privacy Act, the WPA would have driven companies to give customers more access and supervision over their personal data. The law would have applied to businesses in Washington that had control over data from 100,000 consumers or more or those that received more than 50 percent of gross revenue “from the sale of personal information of 25,000 consumers or more,” according to the Act.