SB 5376

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

As of January 30, 2019

Title: An act relating to the management and oversight of personal data.

Brief Description: Protecting consumer data.

Sponsors: Senators Carlyle, Palumbo, Wellman, Mullet, Pedersen, Billig, Hunt, Liias, Rolfes, Saldaña, Hasegawa and Keiser.

Brief History:

Committee Activity: Environment, Energy & Technology: 1/22/19.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Provides that this act will be known as the Washington Privacy Act.

  • Identifies controller and processor obligations.

  • Requires controllers to facilitate requests to exercise consumer rights regarding access, correction, deletion, restriction of processing, data portability, objection, and profiling.

  • Requires controllers to conduct risk assessments under certain conditions.

  • Specifies the thresholds a business must satisfy for the requirements set forth in this act to apply.

  • Provides that this act does not apply to local and state governments, personal data sets regulated by certain federal laws, or employment records.

  • Provides that violation of this act violates the Consumer Protection Act.

  • Requires controllers using facial recognition for profiling to meet certain requirements.

  • Prohibits the use of facial recognition technology by all state and local government agencies to engage in ongoing surveillance of specified individuals in public spaces unless in support of law enforcement or in an emergency.

  • Requires the Office of Privacy and Data Protection to conduct an analysis on the public sector use of facial recognition technology.


Staff: Angela Kleis (786-7469)

Background: Personal information and privacy interests are protected under various provisions of state law. The Washington State Constitution provides that no person shall be disturbed in his private affairs without authority of law. The Public Records Act (PRA) protects a person's right to privacy under certain circumstances if disclosure of personal information: (1) would be highly offensive to the reasonable person, and (2) is not of legitimate concern to the public.

The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) prohibits unfair methods of competition or unfair or deceptive practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce. The Office of the Attorney General may investigate and prosecute claims under the CPA on behalf of the state or individuals in the state.

The Consolidated Technology Services (CTS) agency supports state agencies as a centralized provider and procurer of certain information technology services. Within the CTS, the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) has certain primary duties related to information technology for state government, which include establishing statewide enterprise architecture and standards for consistent and efficient operation. Within the OCIO, the Office of Privacy and Data Protection (OPDP) serves as a central point of contact for state agencies on policy matters involving data privacy and data protection.

Summary of Bill: Short Title. This act shall be known as the Washington Privacy Act.

Jurisdictional Scope. This act applies to legal entities that conduct business in Washington State and:

This act does not apply to local and state governments; personal data sets regulated by certain federal laws; or employment records.

Responsibility According to Role. Controllers are responsible for meeting set obligations. Processors must adhere to instructions of the controller and assist controllers in meeting set obligations. Processing by a processor is governed by a contract between the controller and the processor.

Consumer Rights. Controllers shall facilitate requests to exercise certain consumer rights. The requirement to facilitate a request does not apply under certain conditions.

On request from a consumer, a controller must:

A consumer may object to the processing of their personal data related to direct marketing. When a consumer objects to direct marketing, the controller must no longer process the personal data subject to objection and communicate the consumer's objection to any third parties to whom the controller sold the data. If the consumer objects to processing for any purpose other than direct marketing, the controller may continue processing the personal data if the controller can demonstrate a compelling legitimate ground to process such personal data.

A consumer must not be subject to a decision based solely on profiling which produces legal effects concerning the consumer. This right does not apply under certain circumstances such as if the decision is necessary for entering into a contract between the consumer and a controller or the decision is based on the consumer's consent.

A controller must respond to a request within 30 days of receipt of the request. Under certain circumstances, this time period may be extended by 60 additional days. A controller must notify a consumer within 30 days of receipt of the request (1) if an extension was approved and the reason for the delay; or (2) if no action was taken on a request and the reason for not taking action.

A controller may request additional information to confirm the identity of a consumer if the controller has doubts concerning the identity of the consumer making a request to exercise a consumer right.

Transparency. Controllers must be transparent and accountable for processing personal data by making a privacy notice available that includes certain criteria such as categories of personal data collected and purposes for which the categories of personal data is used and disclosed to third parties. Controllers that engage in profiling must disclose such profiling to the consumer at or before the time personal data is obtained. If a controller sells personal data to data brokers or processes personal data for direct marketing purposes, it must disclose such processing, as well as how a consumer may exercise the right to object to such processing, in a clear manner.

Documented Risk Assessments. Controllers must conduct and document risk assessments prior to processing personal data, anytime processing changes will impact risk of individuals, or at least annually. Risk assessments must identify and weigh the benefits of the processing against the potential risks to the rights of the consumer associated with the processing. If the risk assessment determines the potential risks to the rights of the consumer outweigh the benefits of the processing, the controller may only engage in the processing with the consent of the consumer. Consent shall be as easy to withdraw as to give.

Deidentified Data. A controller or processor that uses deidentified data must monitor compliance with any contractual obligations.

Liability. There is no basis for a private right of action under this act.

Enforcement. A violation of this act violates the CPA. A controller or processor is subject to an injunction and liable for a civil penalty of not more than $2,500 for each violation or $7,500 for each intentional violation. All receipts from the imposition of civil penalties must be deposited into the Consumer Privacy Account. Expenditures from the account may only be used to fund the OPDP.

Facial Recognition. Controllers using facial recognition for profiling must employ meaningful human review prior to making final decisions and obtain consumer consent prior to deploying facial recognition services.

All state and local government agencies shall not use facial recognition technology to engage in ongoing surveillance of specified individuals in public spaces unless in support of law enforcement and either: (1) a court order has been obtained; or (2) where there is an emergency.

The Office of Privacy and Data Protection Analysis. OPDP must conduct an analysis on the public sector use of facial recognition and submit a report of its findings to the Legislature by September 31, 2023.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Creates Committee/Commission/Task Force that includes Legislative members: No.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect on December 31, 2020.

Staff Summary of Public Testimony: PRO: Consumers need to have the ability to control their own information. This is a critical moment on the issue of privacy. American companies have had to become compliant with international standards. Those protections should be extended to United States citizens. This bill represents a thoughtful approach taking components from current European, California, and federal laws. The privacy rights in this bill are the strongest in the country and would help businesses compete in international markets.

CON: The exemptions regarding financial information need to be clarified. The language used in the bill regarding facial recognition technology is vague and inflammatory in the industry. Prohibiting the use of facial recognition technology may have unintended consequences such as effecting how the no-flight list is monitored.

OTHER: We think it would be better for states to wait for federal action with regards to privacy. If states are going to take action, then the actions need to be in alignment to ensure companies are not having to manage different requirements across states. Implementation of this bill would be too difficult for small businesses. The thresholds for identifying which businesses this act applies to are too low. We think an effective date of July 2021 is more appropriate because December is the busiest time of the year for retailers. We suggest adding a private right of action and requiring a report to the Legislature on whether or not this model is working. The definition of data sets need to be clarified with regards to financial and healthcare information. Additional research needs to be done on facial recognition technology.

Persons Testifying: PRO: Senator Reuven Carlyle, Prime Sponsor; Julie Brill, Microsoft; Alex Alben, Office of Privacy. CON: James McMahan, Washington Association Sheriffs and Police Chiefs; Cliff Webster, Consumer Data Industry Association. OTHER: Trent House, Washington Bankers Association and United Financial Lobby; Mark Johnson, Washington Retail Association; Eric Gonzalez Alfaro, Legislative Director, American Civil Liberties Union of Washington; Shannon Smith, Attorney General's Office; Michael Schutzler, CEO, WTIA; Robert Battles, AWB; Stuart Halsan, Washington Land Title Association; Tom McBride, CompTIA; Rose Feliciano, Internet Association; Rick Gardner, Relx (LexisNexis); Julia Gorton, Washington Hospitality Association; Candice Bock, Association of Washington Cities; Brad Tower, Community Bankers of Washington.

Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying: No one.