Bipartisan Data Privacy Legislation Filed

Mike Seals - January 20, 2021 10:42 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY – Legislation to address concerns over data privacy and data manipulation was filed today for the 58th Legislative Session.

The Oklahoma Computer Data Privacy Act, House Bill 1602, would require internet technology companies to obtain explicit permission to collect and sell personal data.

The legislation has bipartisan support and is authored by Rep. Josh West, R-Grove, and Rep. Collin Walke, D-OKC.

“For far too long, we have pretended the data that technology companies collect from us is harmless,” said West. “Over the past several years, we have seen how our data can be used by tech companies to manipulate ourselves and others. That doesn’t even take into consideration the fact that these companies are free to sell our information to whomever they choose. I believe in the beneficial uses of technology and that there are many positive aspects to our interconnected networks. But we must realize that when the services are free, we become the product.”

The legislation would be one of the first “opt-in” data privacy bills in the country. The legislators supporting the bill see this legislation as a chance for a big bipartisan win in the upcoming session.

“I echo Rep. West’s concerns,” said Walke. “Historically, Americans have had concerns about the extent of surveillance by the government, which is why we have the 4th Amendment. However, since the development of the internet, we have been willingly providing much more intimate information to tech companies whose sole motive is profit.  The fruits of data harvesting and data manipulation are now plainly visible and lead only toward a dystopian future in which nothing we say or do is private.  Our bill will ensure that tech companies only receive data that we explicitly consent to them having and allows individuals to protect that right through private causes of action.”

Walke and West encourage Oklahomans who support legislation to protect personal data to call or email their representative in support of HB1602.


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