Attorney General Charity Clark announced the January 28, 2024 celebration of Data Privacy Day, an international effort to raise awareness and promote privacy and data protection best practices. She praised legislative leaders for taking up H.121, a comprehensive data privacy bill, initially spearheaded by her office. H.121 will codify every Vermonter’s right to control the buying, selling, and processing of their personal data, including biometric data.
“Vermonters value their privacy. It is embodied in our state motto: freedom and unity,” Attorney General Clark said. “But today, in the age of 24/7 corporate surveillance, Vermonters deserve better privacy protections. Our personal data is being collected, stored, bought, and sold every second – while shopping, scrolling social media, even walking down the street. Vermonters have a right to control their own data and to take action when their data privacy has been violated.”
Artificial intelligence, use of biometric information, and the increasing use, purchase, and sale of consumer data have the potential to compromise consumer privacy. For these reasons, the Attorney General strongly supports the work the Legislature is doing in this area with H.121, including:
- Ensuring data minimization to limit the consumer information businesses collect and retain;
- Providing an opt-out for consumers – including minors – who don’t want data brokers collecting, buying, and selling their data;
- Protections of biometric data – that data that is exclusive to us that we cannot change – that require express consumer consent for collection and use.
Here are tips to consider in protecting your own data privacy:
- Set your social media settings to private and review data-sharing features of the social media sites you use.
- Be aware that when you don’t have to pay money for an app, you are paying for it with your own data, which is then bought and sold by data brokers.
- Employ your own data minimization practices—don’t give out your personally identifiable information if you don’t have to.
- Delete your online history. If you don’t want to see ads based on your previous online activity, delete cookies and clear your browsing and search history. On your phone, delete or reset identifiers used to track you.
- Disable Siri on your phone and do not install a smart speaker in your home.
- Deactivate or permanently delete any social media or online account that you no longer use.
If you have questions about how to protect your data privacy or believe your personally identifiable information (PII) has been compromised, please contact the Consumer Assistance Program, at 1-800-649-2424.
CONTACT: Lauren Jandl, Chief of Staff, 802-828-3171