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Big Tech Is Pushing States to Pass Privacy Laws, and Yes, You Should Be Suspicious

Concerned about growing momentum behind efforts to regulate the commercial use of personal data, Big Tech has begun seeding watered-down “privacy” legislation in states with the goal of preempting greater protections, experts say.

The swift passage in March of a consumer data privacy law in Virginia, which Protocol reported was originally authored by Amazon with input from Microsoft, is emblematic of an industry-driven, lobbying-fueled approach taking hold across the country. The Markup reviewed existing and proposed legislation, committee testimony, and lobbying records in more than 20 states and identified 14 states with privacy bills built upon the same industry-backed framework as Virginia’s, or with weaker models. The bills are backed by a who’s who of Big Tech–funded interest groups and are being shepherded through statehouses by waves of company lobbyists.
Fourteen of 20 proposed state privacy bills were built upon the same industry-backed framework as Virginia’s, or weaker

Virginia-based or weaker bills require people to opt out (as opposed to opt in) to being tracked online and contain no right to sue over violations—or else do not address these provisions.

Meanwhile, the small handful of bills that have not adhered to two key industry demands—that companies can’t be sued for violations and consumers would have to opt out of rather than into tracking—have quickly died in committee or been rewritten.

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