Washington State Pushes Internet Privacy Rights in Two Bills

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State lawmakers in Washington introduced two new bills yesterday designed to protect the privacy of internet users. The bills are in response to a new federal law that gives internet service providers the ability to track and sell users browsing history to advertisers and other interested parties.

If passed, internet service providers would have to get permission to sell the data of internet users in Washington state. The legislation closely follows the text of Obama-era rules that were recently axed by federal legislators.

Both House and Senate versions of the new rules have more than two dozen sponsors each from both parties.

Rep. Drew Hansen, D-Bainbridge Island, who introduced the House version of the bill told the Washington News Tribune, that while many companies have said they do not intend to sell browsing data, the rules are an important bulwark to have in place in case those companies have a change of heart.

“Your internet access provider shouldn’t be able to sell your private information like your browsing history to the highest bidder,” the congressman told the paper.

Minnesota’s Republican controlled statehouse also passed a measure last week to keep companies from selling user data. The Minnesota rule would require internet service providers to get users permission in writing before selling their data.