In a bipartisan vote Thursday, the House gave final passage to legislation giving Connecticut consumers more control of and access to the personal data collected about them by companies on the Internet.
Lawmakers approved the bill on a 144 to 5 vote, sending it to Gov. Ned Lamont for consideration. If signed by the governor, the bill would have Connecticut join a handful of other states including California, Colorado, and Virginia, which have crafted regulations on data collection in the absence of federal rules.
“This whole bill is about trying to protect consumer rights but not punish companies,” Rep. Mike D’Agostino, co-chair of the General Law Committee, said. “We’re trying to balance the fact that we live in a digital age where there’s all this data out there and you have to be aware of both the consumers rights and also making sure that the businesses that are involved — we don’t impose upon them undue burdens.”
The bill gives consumers the right to view or delete data and opt out of its sale or targeted advertising. It requires certain companies to disclose and minimize the data they collect. The legislation also restricts targeted advertising to children and sale of their data.
Companies with data on at least 100,000 Connecticut residents generally fall under the bill’s requirements. However it excludes businesses that have that information based solely on payment transactions. Businesses that trade in data sales, meanwhile, would be on expected to comply with the legisaltion’s terms if they have data on only 25,000 residents.
The bill was initially met with concern from small businesses in Connecticut, especially restaurants who use third-party apps to for services like take-out orders or reservation.
During the House debate Thursday, Rep. David Rutigliano, a Republican restaurant owner from Trumbull, said the bill had addressed many of the concerns voiced by Connecticut businesses.
“Our voices were heard. It took a long time. It took a lot of discussions and I think we got to a place where the balance was met,” Rutigliano said. “A balance of protection and also who is liable.”
The bill’s final passage is a win for Senate Democrats in Connecticut have sought to pass some form of the concept for the last several years. They approved a different version as part of an 800-page budget implementer last session only to see its provisions removed by the House, where Democrats and Republicans said the language lacked support.
The bill now heads to Gov. Ned Lamont for consideration.