Washington Privacy Act – Not Quite Yet
by Peter Smith
Over the past several weeks, there has been debate about whether Washington state lawmakers would pass legislation known as the Washington Privacy Act (“WPA”). The WPA mimicked concepts of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) and California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”). Like the GDPR and CCPA, the primary goal of the WPA was to give Washington residents and households additional rights regarding their personal data. These data rights included the right to access, to correct, to delete, to port (move), and to opt-out. Granting these rights would mean that businesses would need to comply with a slew of required disclosures and data management practices.
To cut to the chase—the bill did not pass. But, just because the WPA won’t be going into effect does not mean that you should push all mention of it out of your mind for two primary reasons. First, many of the WPA’s provisions mirrored aspects of the GPDR and CCPA, both of which are currently in effect. Meaning, although businesses do not need to comply with the WPA, businesses may still be subject to comply with the GDPR, CCPA, or both if your customers are in the those jurisdictions. Additionally, this was the second time that Washington privacy legislation was presented to the Washington state legislature. Sponsor Senator Reuven Carlyle stated, “Following two historic, near-unanimous votes on proposals in the Senate this year and last, I’m deeply disappointed that we weren’t able to reach consensus with our colleagues in the House.” All of this to say, there isn’t any indication that legislators won’t try to pass the WPA, or similar legislation, next year. Therefore, it is beneficial for businesses to ensure that they are compliant with existing privacy regulations. In the event that the WPA or similar legislation is passed in the future, entities will be in a much more favorable position by laying the foundations of privacy and data compliance now.
The above article is for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon as specific legal advice. This article, or using the email@example.com form, does not in any way form an attorney-client relationship. If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please contact Peter J. Smith at Peter@apexlg.com
June 29, 2020