STATEMENT: Maryland closer to passing 2nd-strongest privacy law in nation

Media Contacts
Maryland
Emily Scarr

State Director, Maryland PIRG; Director, Stop Toxic PFAS Campaign, PIRG


National

BALTIMORE – Today the Maryland Senate passed the Maryland Online Data Privacy Act of 2024 (SB541), and the House is expected to vote on their version of the bill (HB567) by the end of the week. Sponsored by State Senator Dawn Gile and Delegate Sara Love, this consumer privacy bill would cut down on dangerous data collection and sales by tech companies and third parties.

Since 2018, 14 states have passed comprehensive consumer privacy laws. Many do little for consumers. A scorecard report from Maryland PIRG Foundation and the Electronic Privacy Information Center gives SB 541 a B- for how well it protects consumers’ data privacy and security, making it the second strongest law in the nation after California if passed. Nearly half of state laws received “F” grades.

Industry lobbying by tech companies has shaped the passage of weak laws nationwide. Industry front groups weakening laws in other states – including the State Privacy and Security Coalition (SPSC) and Netchoice – have also been actively trying to weaken Maryland’s efforts to protect consumers’ data.

In response, Maryland PIRG’s Don’t Sell My Data campaign director R.J. Cross issued the following statement:

The Maryland Online Data Privacy Act is a win for consumers. It stops companies from collecting whatever data they want about you, and puts limits on how they can use your information.

When companies collect excessive amounts of your data and sell or disclose it to others, it makes it more likely your information will be exposed in a breach or a hack and end up in the hands of identity thieves, scammers, or on robocall lists.

This bill sends a clear message to companies: don’t sell my data

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