Virginia Becomes Second State to Enact Consumer Data Privacy Law

Virginia’s Consumer Data Protection Act became official on Tuesday after Gov. Ralph Northam signed the bill into law. An article by The Hill reporter Rebecca Klar explained that the bill will offer consumers the right to know whether their personal data is being used for targeted advertising and the right to disallow it.

In addition, and as previously reported by Law Street Media, the bill details privacy protection responsibilities and standards for data controllers and processors. Speaking about the bill, the state senator who introduced it, David Marsden, said in a statement, “this is a huge step forward. By creating this omnibus bill, we take the lead in data privacy in the United States. This omnibus bill is clear, concise, and holds companies accountable for protecting consumer data in providing protections for consumers.”

The Virginia law parallels the Golden State’s 2018-enacted California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which voters chose to expand upon last November through a ballot measure.

The Hill noted that unlike the California law, Virginia’s bill stops short of offering individuals a private right of action. Instead, the state’s attorney general will have the exclusive authority to enforce violations.

According to an article by The Washington Post’s Cat Zakrzewski, Virginia’s bill won broad support from the tech industry, including Amazon, which is building headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. The news outlet, owned by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, remarked that new legislation is “… widely viewed as more industry friendly than the California provision.”

Some additional states are contemplating privacy proposals, too, according to The Hill and The Washington Post. Reportedly, Washington state lawmakers recently rekindled a debate on a privacy bill comparable to Virginia’s, while New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has supported similar legislation, and New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Utah are weighing their own. The Washington Post commented that Virginia’s new law signifies increased state activity in the absence of congressional action in the data privacy arena.

Virginia’s law is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2023.