INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Senate Republicans say one of their top priorities this session is giving Hoosiers more power over what companies do with their personal data.
“We want to protect our Hoosiers, and we want them to be assured that the data that they put out there that it’s secured as it’s supposed to be,” said State Sen. Liz Brown (R-Fort Wayne).
Brown has reintroduced a bill that would allow Hoosiers to find out from companies what data they’re collecting and how it’s being used. Hoosiers would also have the right to ask companies to delete their information or not use it for certain purposes.
The bill also requires businesses to conduct annual assessments to ensure the data they store is protected.
The legislation would be enforced by the state attorney general.
“We’re in the forefront,” Brown said. “We had California and Virginia and a couple states in between. And we’re going to be the sixth state to pass this. And that’s a big deal.”
The bill passed the Senate unanimously last year, but it didn’t get a vote by the full House as some lawmakers believed social media posts would be impacted, Brown said. But that isn’t the case, she added, and feels confident about the bill’s chances this session.
“I think people don’t realize how much data is being collected on all of us pretty much all the time, every time we get online,” said Scott Shackelford, executive director of the IU Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research.
There are several reasons why companies collect consumers’ data, Shackelford said.
“Oftentimes, it’s for purposes of repackaging and reselling that information to other third parties, maybe for marketing purposes or otherwise,” he explained.
Shackelford said he considers the Indiana bill a step in the right direction.
“It does a lot of what we’ve seen in these other states, including just increasing transparency for consumers,” Shackelford said. “So we’ll have a better idea about what’s being collected.”
Some businesses already regulated by federal law, such as financial and banking institutions and health care providers, are exempt from the state bill, Brown said.
The bill is expected to get a hearing within the next few weeks, she said.