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Washington: Lawmakers consider first-ever tax on the sale of personal info

In early February, Rep. Norma Smith introduced House Bill 1904, which would establish a new 3.3 percent business and occupation tax (B&O) on businesses that sell or exchange the personal information of Washingtonians, while also exempting the sale of personal information from the state’s sales and use taxes.
Asserting that “[w]e must make inroads where we can in an effort to safeguard your private information,” Rep. Smith, on her website, justified the measure as one that would “help offset the significant new cost of cybersecurity, data protection and new educational industry demands.” To that same end, she also introduced House Bill 1421, which would protect consumers’ payment credentials in business transactions with state agencies by prohibiting the agencies from storing these payment credentials on state data systems, and requiring them to eliminate any existing payment data from their systems by July 1, 2020.