Indivisble privacy letter to Civil Rights and Judiciary committee, January 24

A sign in the shape of an arrow with the word “Privacy” on it

The House Civil Rights and Judiciary committee has a hearing tomorrow on HB 1850, Reps. Slatter and Berg’s new Foundational Data Privacy Act. Today, Indi+ and a dozen other Indivisible groups sent a letter to the committee (ccing the rest of the House) to outline what we want to see in a bill — and express our eagerness to work with them to pass strong privacy legislation this session.

Thanks to Washington Indivisible Network for sending the letter on all of our behalf!

ACLU of Washington’s Data Privacy Guiding Principles and Bill Comparison Chart has a quick summary of how the Rep. Kloba’s People’s Privacy Act and the Foundational Data Privacy Act stack up against the minimum standards privacy legislation needs to meet to provide meaningful protection. Some of ACLU-WA’s principles are different than ours, but are very aligned — and we will once again be working with them and the civil rights, immigrant rights, and civil liberties groups in the Tech Equity Coalition in this year’s battle!

To: CRJ Committee
CC: All House members
Subject: Indivisibles look forward to working with you to pass strong privacy legislation this session!

Dear Members of the House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee,

As you saw last session, Indivisibles across the state of Washington care passionately about data privacy. It’s an issue that affects all of us, and our families, in our daily lives — and it’s also an important civil rights issue. The Markup’s recent reporting on how companies collect data on America’s children and then use it to target discriminatory ads is yet another example of why regulation is needed.

We appreciate the hard work you’ve done on data privacy over the years, and are eager to work with you to pass strong legislation that truly protects our privacy. To start with, we’d like to highlight what we see as critical principles that legislation needs to align with to provide meaningful protection.

  • Start with a focus on protecting people, not corporations

We appreciate that there are multiple approaches to strong privacy legislation. Last session, following the lead of the civil rights and immigrant rights groups in the Tech Equity Coalition, we supported two paths forward: the People’s Privacy Act (HB 1433), our preferred approach; and Rep. Kloba’s amendment to SB 5062, which we saw as more incremental legislation that provided meaningful protections for Washingtonians.

This session, please give the People’s Privacy Act serious consideration. It aligns well with the principles, and was developed in conjunction with the communities who are most harmed by data abuses. We’re also looking forward to learning more about the Foundational Data Privacy Act (HB 1850) and its interesting new ideas such as the data privacy commission, although as the Tech Equity Coalition’s letter highlights, the bill still needs significant improvements like opt-in.

Of course, the devil is in the details. It will be important to work through how effective proposed legislation will be at stopping the kinds of data abuses that are occurring today — like the ones in those Markup articles, for example. Still, we’re optimistic! 2022 is a great opportunity to build on the progress that you’ve made in the last several sessions. As the session progresses, we are looking forward to understanding the details of the various bills on the table, and supporting the ones that align with these principles and protect us and our families.

Indivisible Skagit

Indivisible Tacoma

Lower Columbia Indivisible

Wallingford Indivisible

Olympia Indivisible

Indivisible Washington’s 8th District

Indivisible Whidbey Island

North Kitsap Indivisible

Indivisible Bainbridge Island

Bremerton Indivisible

Indivisible Greater Vancouver

Indivisible Eastside

Indivisible Plus Washington

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Indivisible Plus Washington

Indivisible Plus Washington is a state-wide organization focused on voter engagement and turn out, fighting disinformation, and combatting systemic oppression