Dear Speaker Jinkins, Minority Leader Wilcox, and Members of the Washington State House of Representatives:
The undersigned organizations write to urge you to support the striking amendment introduced by Rep. Kloba that addresses the issues consumer, civil rights and civil liberties advocates have consistently raised with SB 5062.
Unlike other versions of SB 5062, Rep. Kloba’s striking amendment has a fully opt-in approach, contains a strong enforcement mechanism with a private right of action including a right to recover damages, allows local jurisdictions to pass stronger laws, and removes some loopholes. Although this amendment can still be improved, it is a big step forward and in line with HB 1433, the People’s Privacy Act, and addresses the four key changes we have recommended be made to SB 5062. We thank Rep. Kloba for introducing this amendment.
The version of SB 5062 that passed out of the Senate chamber, and the version of SB 5062 that passed out of the House Appropriations Committee (as amended by the Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee) unfortunately only provide a façade of privacy protections. These versions do not require companies to get opt-in consent before collecting people’s information, lack a strong enforcement mechanism, preempt local jurisdictions from passing stronger laws, and contain many loopholes and exemptions.
We urge you to oppose these two versions because they would not adequately protect people’s privacy. An opt-out approach is insufficient to meaningfully equip people to understand and control if and how their information is collected; a weak enforcement mechanism provides little to no accountability; a preemption provision prevents local jurisdictions from making important privacy decisions for their residents; and loopholes and exemptions further cede power to data controllers and processers instead of ordinary people.
We have heard supporters of these weak versions state that “perfect is the enemy of the good,” but unfortunately, the versions of SB 5062 that have passed out of the Senate and House Appropriations are nowhere near good. Its major shortcomings are why individuals and organizations defending civil rights and liberties, racial justice, workers’ rights, privacy, and consumer rights have opposed and continue to strongly oppose this these versions of the bill.
We encourage lawmakers to adopt Rep. Kloba’s striking amendment and oppose versions of SB 5062 that do not meet the four key criteria that we have consistently called for. While there is still room for improvement, we believe this striking amendment will meaningfully protect the privacy of Washingtonians.
We ask that the House to pursue a path towards the strong framework provided by HB 1433, by supporting Rep. Kloba’s striking amendment and other frameworks that:
1. Change SB 5062’s opt-out framework to an “opt-in” framework where companies must get permission to collect, use, or share people’s data.
2. Strengthen enforcement by including a private right of action providing for damages, which would allow people to enforce their privacy rights.
3. Remove the preemption provision, and set a floor, not a ceiling for local governments to pass stronger privacy laws where applicable.
4. Close the numerous loopholes present in the language and definitions that enable tech vendors and data brokers to evade regulation.
Without these key changes, we urge you to oppose 2SSB 5062 in its current form.
|Church Council of Greater Seattle|
|Coalition of Seattle Indian Americans|
|Consumer Federation of America|
|Gig Harbor Indivisible|
|Huddle Lopez Island|
|Indivisible Bainbridge Island|
|Indivisible Ocean Shores|
|Indivisible Ocean Shores|
|Indivisible Plus Washington|
|Indivisible South Puget Sound|
|Indivisible Stanwood/Camano and Indivisible Bellingham|
|Indivisible Valley (1st CD)|
|Indivisible Washington's 8th District|
|Japanese American Citizens League, Seattle Chapter|
|John T. Williams Organizing Committee|
|Lower Columbia Indivisible|
|MAPS-AMEN (American Muslim Empowerment Network)|
|North Kitsap Indivisible|
|Parent Coalition for Student Privacy|
|Resist 45 Bremerton|
|Snohomish County Indivisible|
|The National Workrights Institute|
|Tula's Indivisible Critical Response Team|
|Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle|
|Washington Fair Trade Coalition|
|Washington State Indivisible Podcast|