The New York Privacy Act,  introduced last month by state Sen. Kevin Thomas, advocates for consumer agency over their personal data and would give New Yorkers the right to sue companies directly for privacy violations. Thomas wants companies to put customer data protection ahead of their budgetary and business goals.  

The bill summary reads: “Enacts the NY privacy act to require companies to disclose their methods of de-identifying personal information, to place special safeguards around data sharing and to allow consumers to obtain the names of all entities with whom their information is shared; creates a special account to fund a new office of privacy and data protection.”

“Fiduciaries, like an attorney or a doctor, hold onto your information. They don’t share it, unless there is a need for the purpose for which they collected it,” Thomas said. “That’s not what’s going on here with these data companies and these data brokers. They’re sharing it, and we’re getting targeted.”

Pushback from the tech industry has been swift. John Olsen, Director of the Internet Association, said, “The NY Privacy Act, in its current form, is unworkable for businesses that want to comply and fails to provide New York residents meaningful control over how their data is collected, used, and protected.” Facebook also chimed in saying they would have to shut down Facebook access to New York users if the bill becomes law.

Read the NY Senate Bill S5642.