Rep. Shanley bill would protect internet users from disclosure of personal information


Rep. Evan P. Shanley (D-Dist. 24, Warwick) has introduced legislation that would give more protections to internet users in Rhode Island.

Dubbed the Right-to-Know Data Transparency and Privacy Protection Act, the legislation (2018-H 7111) would protect individuals of this state from disclosure of personally identifiable information through the internet by operators of commercial websites or online services and would empower the attorney general with enforcement authority for any operator violations.

“It’s more than a little troubling to see that our internet privacy rights may be eroding at the federal level,” said Shanley in a statement. “This legislation would protect the privacy of Rhode Islanders and give the attorney general the power to seek an enforcement action against operators who do not comply with the law. The right to privacy is something that is clearly woven into the tapestry of the U.S. Constitution. We must recognize the importance of providing consumers with transparency about how their personal information, especially information relating to their children, is shared by businesses.”

The legislation notes that businesses are now collecting personal information and sharing and selling it in ways not contemplated or properly covered by current state and federal law. Some websites are installing tracking tools that record when consumers visit web pages, and sending very personal information, such as age, gender, race, income, health concerns, religion and recent purchases to third-party marketers and data brokers.

Third-party data broker companies are buying, selling, and trading personal information obtained from mobile phones, financial institutions, social media sites, and other online and brick and mortar companies. Some mobile applications are sharing personal information, such as location information, unique phone identification numbers, and age, gender, and other personal details with third-party companies.

“People need to know that their information is being collected and shared with third parties so they can take whatever steps are necessary to protect their privacy, their safety and their financial security,” said Shanley.

The bill would require an operator of a commercial website that collects personal information through the internet to identify all categories of personal information that the operator collects, identify all categories of third-party persons or entities with whom the operator may disclose that information, and provide a description of a customer’s rights.

The legislation, which is cosponsored by Representatives Lauren H. Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport), Aaron Regunberg (D-Dist. 4, Providence), Alex D. Marszalkowski (D-Dist. 52, Cumberland) and Majority Whip John G. Edwards (D-Dist. 70, Tiverton, Portsmouth), has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.


1 comment on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment

Dear Evan,

A person needs to give his social security number to access his/her credit report. However, from that moment forward there is no reason for it to appear in print. I am a mortgage banker. I see it on so many pages of so many documents and it's not necessary. Find some way to eliminate the copying of social security numbers and your bill will be a national hit!

Happy Spring Evan.

Happy Spring everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Thursday, February 1, 2018