States are passing privacy laws, but they’re weak – Consumer Protection Week 2024

Media Contacts
R.J. Cross

Director, Don't Sell My Data Campaign, U.S. PIRG Education Fund

BOSTON  – Although more than 80% of Americans are concerned about how companies collect and use their data, decision-makers are largely failing to protect people. The United States currently has no comprehensive privacy law. Every time we go online, our favorite apps and sites collect data about us. 

Several states are taking some action to protect us, but they’re often still leaving consumers’ privacy and security at risk. So far in 2024, 18 states are considering comprehensive consumer privacy legislation, while another two states — New Jersey and New Hampshire — passed laws in January. Since 2018, a total of 44 states have considered such legislation, and 14 states have passed a law. 

Last month, U.S. PIRG Education Fund and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) put out a new scorecard report grading state laws for how well they protect consumers’ data. Of the 14 states with laws, six received Fs, and none received an A. 

Often, companies collect more data about us than is necessary. Even worse, they use it for things that have nothing to do with the service we’re expecting to get. The more data that companies collect, and the more companies that hold that data, the more likely it is that that consumers’ information will get exposed in a breach or a hack. Consumers are more likely to become the victim of identity theft or hyper-targeted scams if a con artist already knows certain facts about a person. 

For consumer week, we’re offering general tips for all consumers: “5 steps you can take to protect your privacy now,” as well as state-specific tips guides for the 14 states that have passed consumer privacy laws to date.

See our full coverage of Consumer Protection Week: Tips, Tools and Step-by-Step Guides