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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.