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Legal developments in data, privacy, cybersecurity, and other emerging technology issues

  • Posts by Matthew  Keuten
    Posts by Matthew Keuten

    Matthew Keuten focuses his practice primarily on advising clients in connection with healthcare regulatory, corporate, and transactional matters. A significant portion of his practice is dedicated to representing clients in a ...

Undeterred by previous failed attempts to bolster Washington state laws protecting individual privacy, earlier this month Washington State Senator Reuven Carlyle announced on his Twitter account that the draft Washington Privacy Act 2021 (the “Bill”) is available for public comment. This is the State of Washington’s most recent attempt to strengthen protections for consumer privacy, following the lead of California and the California Consumer Protection Act (“CCPA”).

While the Bill contains many similarities to the State of Washington’s previous attempts, included with the Bill are new provisions related to contact tracing aimed to “instill public confidence on the processing and use of their personal and public health data during any global pandemic[.]” These new provisions apply protections related to the processing of certain “covered data” for the purposes of “detecting symptoms of an infectious disease, enabling the tracking of an individual's contacts with other individuals, or with specific locations to identify in an automated fashion whom individuals have come into contact with, or digitally notifying, in an automated manner, an individual who may have become exposed to an infectious disease, or other similar purposes directly related to a state of emergency declared by the governor[.]” The covered data subject to the new protections includes “personal data and one or more of the following: specific geolocation data, proximity data, or personal health data.”

While the new Bill presents the opportunity for the State of Washington to fill the gap created by the absence of comprehensive federal protection, the Bill still lacks a private right of action, which was one of the primary reasons for predecessor bill’s failure to pass. You can access the entire Bill here or view an overview, with helpful comparisons to the CCPA and the predecessor bill, here.

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