New Virginia legislation to protect personal data goes into effect Jan. 1
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - In today’s digitally-driven age, it’s become harder for consumers to keep personal data private.
Many companies gather your information, hold onto it, and some even sell it.
On Jan. 1, the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act goes into effect to give consumers some power back.
It is an extensive set of rights that will change how much information you are required to give to companies online or at the checkout counter.
“This is kind of a no-brainer. At the checkout counter, we are besieged by a number of requests for email information, phone numbers, all sorts of things,” NBC12 Legal Expert Steve Benjamin said.
These new protections ensure data privacy and security no longer take a backseat.
Under these guidelines, you have the right to obtain data being collected or maintained.
Companies will now be required to provide you with a copy if you ask for one.
“You have the right to correct any data, you have the right to delete data, you have the right to opt-out of certain uses of that data by companies,” Benjamin said.
It also creates a number of responsibilities for those companies that collect your personal information.
“Companies are going to do everything they can to collect our personal information,” Benjamin said. “They do that so that they can target us with ads targeted towards specific preferences so they can collect this data, which they can then sell to other companies.”
That’s why Benjamin says you should be vigilant about the amount of information that you give out.
The Office of the Attorney General is in charge of ensuring companies are in compliance with the new law.
“There is a $7,500 civil penalty for each violation,” Benjamin said. “There’s also a number of exemptions.”
For example, state and local government agencies are part of an exemption.
“This legislation is a significant and valuable piece of legislation to protect Virginians,” Benjamin said. “As we’re willing to protect ourselves and to inform ourselves about these rights, I think this is going to be really pretty significant.”
Virginia is only the second state to adopt these rights for consumers, thus acting as a blueprint for other states to follow suit.
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