State data protection bills gain traction amid pandemic

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Lawmakers around the nation have been pushing for state-level internet privacy laws, as life continues to advance online amid the pandemic, reports The Wall Street Journal

Virginia is expected to pass legislation for data protection this month, which would make it the second state to do so behind California. Washington state officials are also trying to pass data privacy regulations for the third time, while states like Minnesota, New York and Florida are launching similar efforts.

The legislative actions come amid growing consumer concerns that their data may be used or sold, privacy experts told WSJ

Cy Fenton, chairman of the National Retail Federation's information-technology security council, said that online retailers often sell products to a consumer in one state,  deliver the items to a recipient in another and share the data from those transactions to a third-party marketplace elsewhere.

In response, some businesses are staffing lawyers or outsourcing help to meet the rush of varying regulations. Oftentimes, they opt to meet the standards of the strictest state laws.

Officials in Virginia said they've crafted a business-friendly approach to data regulation to protect e-commerce websites from getting sued by consumers over privacy issues.

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