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Texas enacts Data Privacy and Security Act

House Bill (HB) 4 went into effect on Monday, July 1 with the aim of protecting Texans’ personal information collected through third-party entities.

Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R-Southlake) introduced the Texas Data and Privacy Security Act (TDPSA) in the 88th Legislative Session, where it passed. Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) worked in tandem with Capriglione to pass the legislation.

The act establishes a set of rights for internet users regarding their personal data; users can now be informed when their personal data is collected, decline the sale of their personal data, provide safeguards for said data, and view a detailed report of the data collected. Internet users will also be able to request their personal data be deleted.

“For too long, companies have profited off of Texans’ personal data without their consent,” stated Hughes in a press release.

“I was honored to work alongside Chairman Capriglione to pass the strongest data privacy law in the Nation. This bill ends the practice of profiteering while giving Texans the right to control their personal data.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released an overview of the TDPSA to provide further details.

According to the release, small businesses — as defined by the federal Small Business Administration — are generally exempt from the law. However, if a small business intends to sell a consumer's sensitive data, it must first obtain the consumer's consent. “Sensitive data” includes precise geolocation data and the personal data of children under the age of 13.

The attorney general will have “exclusive authority to enforce the Act” and will allow a company 30 days to fix a violation.

“Our personal data belongs to us, and now Texans can take back control of their data online,” wrote Capriglione on social media after the law took effect.

“The Texas House has always prioritized Texan’s fundamental rights to privacy and personal autonomy, especially as we conduct an increasingly large portion of our lives online,” said House Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) in a statement.

“Beginning today, the Texas Data Privacy and Security Act will allow Texas consumers enhanced control and oversight over the use of their personal data implementing a robust set of guidelines for businesses to follow. Not only will consumers be given more say over their data, but parents can further safeguard their children against exploitation by Big Tech and online companies through these new protections.”

Social media and big tech companies have continued to be in the crosshairs of lawmakers, and recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings have shed new light on how the law will operate in a new digital environment.

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