Washington introduces consumer data privacy legislation

A pair of bills introduced in the Washington state legislature Jan. 13 seek to strengthen consumers' control of their personal data and regulate government use of facial recognition technology.

One of the bills, SB 6281, is similar to the consumer privacy legislation that took effect in California at the beginning of the year. The law would give state residents the right to know who is using their personal data, and why and how the data is being used, as well as the ability to correct inaccurate data, delete data and opt out of data sharing. The bill also proposes increased transparency by requiring companies to disclose data management policies up front.

The other bill, SB 6280, would limit the use of facial recognition software by state agencies and local governments. Agencies using the technology would be required to disclose its use to the public and conduct regular reviews of its capabilities and limitations.

"It has never been more important for state governments to take bold and meaningful action in the arena of consumer data privacy," Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, sponsor of SB 6281, said during a Jan. 13 news conference, the Seattle Times reports.

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