author photo
By Bruce Sussman
Mon | Mar 16, 2020 | 5:30 AM PDT

Washington State's privacy bill nearly created the most far-reaching privacy legislation in the U.S. to date.

In some ways, its provisions were even stronger than the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA).

Washington State privacy law fails

Was the Washington State privacy law a victim of the coronavirus and legislators losing the will to get it done?

After all, versions of it had passed with bipartisan support in both of Washington's legislative chambers.

We may never know the answer to this question for sure. However, bill co-sponsor Sen. Reuven Carlyle never mentions the coronavirus as a factor. Instead, there was a single significant hitch that could not be resolved:

"Following two historic, near-unanimous votes on proposals in the Senate this year and last, I'm deeply disappointed that we weren't able to reach consensus with our colleagues in the House. The impasse remains a question of enforcement.

As a tech entrepreneur who has worked in multiple startup companies, and in the absence of any compelling data suggesting otherwise, I continue to believe that strong attorney general enforcement to identify patterns of abuse among companies and industries is the most responsible policy and a more effective model than the House proposal to allow direct individual legal action against companies," he says.

We won't be surprised if Washington State legislators try again during the next legislative session, based on Senator Carlyle's comments.

"In today's era, consumer data privacy is the soul of economic, social and consumer value, and it goes to the core of our treasured constitutional rights and interests. With the federal government's inability to move forward, state-level action is more important than ever, and I've long believed that Washington is the right place and this is the right time to craft comprehensive state-level legislation."

Related podcast: cybersecurity and privacy law strategy

For more on this state by state approach to cybersecurity law and privacy law, listen to our SecureWorld Sessions podcast on the topic: