Rhode Island House Passes Weak “Privacy” Law

June 11, 2024

The Rhode Island House of Representatives has passed a weak “privacy” bill that fails to provide meaningful protections for Rhode Islanders. The Rhode Island Senate is set to consider the Senate companion legislation this week. EPIC, Consumer Reports, and Restore the Fourth sent a letter to Senators in opposition. “The bill needs to be substantially improved before it is enacted; otherwise, it would risk locking in industry-friendly provisions that avoid actual reform,” the groups wrote.

EPIC recently released The State of Privacy: How State “Privacy” Laws Fail to Protect Privacy and What They Can Do Better, which found that nearly half of the 14 states that have passed so-called comprehensive privacy laws at the time received a failing grade, and none received an A.

The legislation passed this week in Rhode Island would receive an F on EPIC’s scorecard. It fails to include data minimization requirements, recognition of a universal opt-out mechanism, or civil rights protections. The bill also seemingly says that the consumer rights in the bill do not apply to pseudonymous data such as device IDs, which is a huge loophole that renders those consumer rights almost meaningless. The legislation also limits enforcement to the Attorney General, denying Rhode Islanders the ability to enforce their rights.

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