Communications Daily: Mass. Legislators ‘Dig In’ on Data Privacy 

October 20, 2023

It’s time for Massachusetts to pass a data privacy bill, agreed multiple legislators at a Joint Advanced Information Technology Committee hearing Thursday. But state lawmakers must decide between two proposals — one (H-83/S-25) based on Congress’ American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA) and another (H-60) that’s more like laws in states including Connecticut and Virginia. 

“Interoperability is key,” so TechNet favors H-60 — especially if it’s amended to be even more like other state laws, said Executive Director-Northeast Chris Gilrein. H-83 is the stronger, more enforceable bill, countered witnesses from American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), Consumer Reports and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC). Passing the ADPPA-like bill in Massachusetts “would be a watershed moment for privacy,” said CDT Privacy & Data Project co-Director Eric Null. 

… A broad PRA “scares them more into compliance,” said EPIC Deputy Director Caitriona Fitzgerald. “If you’re complying with the law, it shouldn’t be an issue.” She warned that Amazon and other big tech companies played a big role writing many other state laws. The PRA should cover every possible violation, agreed Emiliano Falcon-Morano, ACLU Massachusetts Technology for Liberty Program policy counsel. And H-83 is better than the other bill on data minimization and protecting sensitive information, he said. “Less data collected and processed means less that can be misused or abused.” 

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