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Bill would give people more power over personal data on web

February 6, 2019

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota residents would have control over their personal internet data under a bill considered by the state Legislature.

Fargo Republican Rep. Jim Kasper, the primary sponsor of the bill, said during a hearing Wednesday that the measure would allow the state residents to ask companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon what personal data has been collected and how it has been shared. The measure also would allow residents to demand the data be deleted and not collected in the future, he said.

It also would forbid companies from punishing consumers who don’t want their data collected or sold.

“People have a right to know about what data is being collected,” Kasper said in an interview. “And they have a right to say ‘yes or no.’”

The measure comes amid growing worries worldwide about internet privacy.

Last year, the data privacy rules took effect in Europe. California also passed data privacy legislation last year and several states are considering new laws.

Kasper said his initial bill was patterned after California’s measure, but then amended it Wednesday to mirror one being considered in Washington state.

Officials representing the technology industry, including the Computing Technology Industry Association and the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, or CTIA, testified against the North Dakota’s bill, and said they did not have enough time to consider Kasper’s amendment.

Gerald Keegan, vice president of state legislative affairs for CTIA, told the House Industry, Business and Industry Committee that the measure was a “huge hurdle” for industry and would be difficult for companies to comply with it.

But Microsoft officials spoke in favor of the bill, saying it would not be hard for tech companies to comply, because of the measures already is place in Europe and California.

“We think it’s good for privacy and we think it’s good for business,” said Ryan Harkins, Microsoft’s director of state affairs and public policy. “People don’t want to use technology they don’t trust.”

The House committee did not take immediate action Wednesday.

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