Vermont

State legislatures across the country were busy in 2023 and so far this year passing comprehensive consumer privacy laws and creating a vexing patchwork of compliance obligations.

Legislatures in Iowa, Indiana, Tennessee, Montana, Florida, Texas, Oregon, Delaware, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Kentucky, Maryland, Nebraska and Minnesota all enacted consumer privacy laws of their own with an additional consumer privacy law in Vermont awaiting action by the Governor. The fifteen laws passed in 2023 and 2024 join laws in California, Virginia, Colorado, Utah, and Connecticut which already are in effect. A chart at the end of this blog post notes each law’s effective date, three of which are effective at the end of this month.

While inspired by the EU General Data Protection Regulation and the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”), the new state consumer privacy laws take materially different approaches in many ways. States also have passed more targeted privacy laws pertaining specifically to consumer health data (beyond treating it as a category of sensitive personal data), the protection of children (beyond limiting the use of personal data), AI-specific laws (not part of a comprehensive consumer data regime) and laws regulating data brokers (typically controllers that sell personal data they do not directly collect from consumers). Congress continues to consider a federal law that would mostly preempt the state consumer privacy laws, as well as other laws specific to children’s online safety with partial preemption. In the meantime, data controllers (and to a lesser degree processors) face the challenge of determining which state consumer privacy laws apply and whether to apply applicable laws based on consumer residency or to apply a national highest standard to all consumers.

The SPB privacy team has developed a comprehensive guide on state consumer privacy laws, including comparison charts on key issues to help determine which laws apply and tips for enhancing information governance. Most of the new state consumer privacy laws require controllers to conduct and retain documentation of data privacy impact or risk assessments. Minnesota’s new consumer privacy law also requires a documented privacy compliance program reasonably designed to ensure compliance and data inventories. The most recent draft of the federal privacy law mandates privacy-by-design.

Following are some highlights of the emerging ‘high water mark’ (strictest requirement) for key aspects of consumer privacy in the United States:Continue Reading State Privacy Law Patchwork Presents Challenges