Massachusetts Considering Privacy Law Similar to California, New York

A bill has been introduced in the Massachusetts Senate that would give consumers more control over their personal information, similar to legislation that was passed in California and has been proposed in New York.

The Massachusetts bill — Senate Docket 341 — was introduced last month by state Sen. Cynthia Stone Creem. It follows legislation from other states that seek to give consumers the right to learn what information companies are capturing and maintaining about them, and give consumers the right to have that information deleted by third parties.

Consumers would also have the ability to request all the “personal information” as defined under the bill that a third party entity collects about them. Third parties would be required to make this request form available in at least two places, according to the legislation. Personal information is identified as “any information relating to an identified or identifiable consumer. ‘Personal information means information that identifies, relates to, describes, is capable of being associated with, or could reasonably be linked, directly or indirectly, with a particular consumer or the consumer’s device,” according to the bill.

If enacted, the bill would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023. Along with California and New York, a movement has begun at the federal level to enact privacy legislation.

Consumers would be able to sue companies for violations of the law, and companies could face penalties of $750 per violation. As well, consumers would be able to opt-out of having their personal information shared by a business with a third party, which for the credit and collections industry, could mean collection agencies.

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