Washington senators introduce bipartisan Washington Internet Privacy Act

Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, and Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, have introduced bipartisan legislation known as the Washington Internet Privacy Act following a vote of Congress to suspend FCC rules protecting internet privacy.

Thirty-two state senators have signed on in support of the bill.

“In Washington state, we can ensure internet customers are safe,” Ranker said. “We value free and open access to information and clear transparency and privacy of our online activity.”

“The public should have a reasonable right to privacy online,” Fain said. “We wouldn’t tolerate the government selling our information because we visited a particular park, or a company selling our information because we looked through its shop window at the mall. We deserve the same right to consent in our digital lives as well.”

The bill blocks internet providers’ ability to collect identifiable, personal information without the customer’s permission. Failure to comply is a violation of the Washington state Consumer Protection Act.

“So much of our daily lives now depend on the internet — paying bills, making appointments, purchasing products and discovering new information,” Ranker said. “The recent action by Congress to suspend FCC rules means that internet providers can save and sell your online activity, including financial and medical health information, to the highest bidder. This bill ensures we protect Washingtonians’ privacy.”