ND Commerce Committee discusses more online privacy

Published: Jan. 29, 2020 at 12:11 PM CST
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In this information age, sometimes our information can end up in the wrong hands.

The state Commerce Committee is taking steps to keep our private things private as we use the internet.

Big companies and corporations use and sell your data to online ad companies and right now there's no state law in place to protect us.

The Commerce Committee is configuring a study on online consumer privacy and protection to combat this problem.

"Creepy" is the word Bismarck residents use to describe their lack of privacy online.

"It's definitely not okay. I feel like your information should be private. I go online and I search things expecting that it's only going to be seen by me and so I don't like it," said Bismarck resident Reece English.

The North Dakota Commerce Committee is working on a study of protections, enforcement, and remedies regarding the disclosure of consumers' personal data.

Their website says, the study must include a review of privacy laws of other states and applicable federal law.

"We are taking it very serious and we intend to keep on top of it and implement those laws and policy as they become available so we can keep on the forefront of this," said Commerce Committee Vice Chairman Sen. Shawn Vedaa, R-District 8.

California recently passed the California Consumer Privacy Act and the North Dakota Legislature has taken note.

The California Act is one of the first and most comprehensive policy in the U.S. that gives consumers back some control over their privacy.

"We're seeing what the central themes are coming out of that so that we can be ready to adopt the same in North Dakota," said Rep. Thomas Beadle, R-District 27.

The State of California Department of Justice website states the act "creates new consumer rights relating to the access to, deletion of, and sharing of personal information that is collected by businesses."

Veda says the biggest challenge the committee faces in North Dakota is protecting consumers online without deterring business from the state.

No consumer privacy laws can be passed until the next session in 2021.

You can view the Commerce Committee's study at the link attached to the right of this story.