The Downside to State and Local Privacy Regulations

GovTech: “To fight back against cyber threats, state and local governments have started to implement tighter privacy regulations. But is this trend a good thing? Or do stricter rules present more challenges than they do solutions?

According to Daniel Castro, vice president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, one of the main issues with stricter privacy regulations is having no centralized rules for states to follow.

“Probably the biggest problem is states setting up a set of contradictory overlapping rules across the country,” Castro said. “This creates a serious cost on organizations and businesses. They can abide by 50 state privacy laws, but there could be different regulations across local jurisdictions.”

One example of a hurdle for organizations and businesses is local jurisdictions creating specific rules for facial recognition and biometric technology.

“Let’s say a company starts selling a smart doorbell service; because of these rules, this service might not be able to be legally sold in one jurisdiction,” Castro said.

Another concern relates to the distinction between government data collection and commercial data collection, said Washington state Chief Privacy Officer Katy Ruckle. Sometimes there is a notion that one law can apply to everything, but different data types involve different types of rights for individuals.

“An example I like to use is somebody that’s been committed to a mental health institution for mental health needs,” Ruckle said. “Their data collection is very different from somebody buying a vacuum cleaner off Amazon.”

On the topic of governments collecting data, Castro emphasized the importance of knowing how data will be utilized in order to set appropriate privacy regulations….(More)”