April 4

By Christian Tabacco

On Wednesday, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy introduced a statute aimed at protecting citizens’ personal information and affirming the right to privacy set forth in the Constitution of the State of Alaska. According to Dunleavy’s press release, the Consumer Data Privacy Act, (SB 116, HB 159), will provide some of the country’s most robust privacy rights for consumers, and may, depending on the timing of its enactment, become the fourth state law of its kind.

The proposed legislation reportedly contains four new rights, including the right of Alaskans to know when online businesses are collecting their personal information. Consumers also will be entitled to learn what information businesses have collected about them in the past five years and whether that information has been sold or disclosed to third parties.

In addition, constituents will have the right to request that businesses delete personal information collected from them within the past five years. Finally, the bill will enable Alaskans to prevent businesses from selling that information.

Furthermore, the press release explained, the bill will erect protections against “unscrupulous” businesses that consumers have never heard of or interacted with and will protect the personal information of minors by requiring parental or guardian approval before the information of a minor may be sold. The proposed law also sets forth “strong penalties” for legal violations.

In his press release, Governor Dunleavy commended the proposed legislation. “Alaskans value their right to privacy and deserve to have that right protected when it comes to the collection and sale of their personal information by some of the world’s largest and most profitable companies,” he explained. “In our modern world nearly everything individuals do online, everything that is liked, shared, or commented on social media, and everywhere people go is being tracked, collected, and sold in many instances without Alaskans’ knowledge or consent. That’s why the Consumer Data Privacy Act is so important as our society has an ever-growing presence online.”

Other states, such as California, and, more recently, Virginia, have rolled out similar consumer data privacy laws in the absence of federal legislative action.

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