Oct 23, 2019

The best and worst states for online privacy

California, Delaware and Utah are the states that best protect users' online privacy in 2019, according to an annual ranking by privacy and cybersecurity research firm Comparitech.

Why it matters: States are taking the lead on online privacy protections in the U.S. as bipartisan efforts in Congress have yet to produce a federal privacy law.

Details: Comparitech ranks state privacy on a range of criteria, reviewing laws governing companies' use and disclosure of customer data and those aimed at protecting children.

  • California earned the top spot in part due to its Consumer Privacy Act, which goes into effect Jan. 1 and gives consumers the right to know what information companies have collected about them and the ability to demand that a company delete their personal data.
  • Delaware and Utah also ranked high for laws related to advertising to children and barring internet service providers from sharing customer data with third parties without consent.

Wyoming was at the bottom of the list. Not only does it lack a shield law to protect journalists from exposing sources, it also lacks a court precedent for doing so.

  • Comparitech also gave the state low marks because companies aren’t required to get rid of users’ personal data after a set time period and employers aren't barred from forcing employees to share passwords to social media accounts.

Go deeper

Microsoft to apply California privacy rules to all users nationwide

Photo: Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Microsoft said in a blog post Monday that it will apply the protections of a new California privacy law for all users in the U.S. The California Consumer Privacy Act was passed last year, but goes into effect Jan. 1.

Why it matters: The law allows consumers to require companies to disclose what data they are keeping on a consumer, and gives consumers the right to have such data be deleted. Also, starting next July, Californians will be allowed to sue businesses for certain data breaches.

Go deeperArrowNov 12, 2019

The global shortage of privacy experts

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It's more important than ever for companies to have privacy experts, to help them obey proliferating laws on how consumers' data can be used — but it's hard to find people with the expertise to do it.

Why it matters: Privacy is a once-and-future battleground. Without more qualified professionals, everyone’s sensitive information could fall vulnerable to corporate ignorance, mismanagement and whim.

Go deeperArrowNov 1, 2019

California lawmakers call for new privacy cop

Reps. Anna Eshoo and Zoe Lofgren. Photos: Tom Williams/Getty Contributor; Chip Somodevilla/Getty Staff.

A pair of California Democrats want to create a new federal agency to protect U.S. consumers' privacy as part of an online privacy bill unveiled Tuesday.

The big picture: Reps. Anna Eshoo and Zoe Lofgren said their Online Privacy Act would create a "Digital Privacy Agency," give users the right to correct and delete information, and impose new restrictions on companies' use of data. The Silicon Valley representatives are setting a high bar for federal privacy legislation amid bipartisan legislation efforts.

Go deeperArrowNov 5, 2019