New York State

Vanel introduces data disclosure bill

Assemblyman Clyde Vanel introduced the New York data protection act last week, which would allow individuals to request and receive access to personal information collected by government agencies and contractors, as well as related information like the sources of their personal data and the purpose for which it was collected.

personal data illustration

personal data illustration Shutterstock

Both New York state and New York City boast open data portals that provide the public access to the vast troves of information collected by various city and state agencies and organizations. Passed in New York City in 2012 as the Open Data Law, and in New York state in 2013 by an executive order, these open data practices are not only an attempt at transparency but at making a wealth of information useful to the public.

A new bill in the state Legislature would take that transparency a few steps further. Assemblyman Clyde Vanel introduced the New York data protection act last week, which would allow individuals to request and receive access to personal information collected by government agencies and contractors, as well as related information like the sources of their personal data and the purpose for which it was collected. Individuals would also be able to request the deletion of their personal data. “Personal information” can include things like identifiable biometric data or financial information.

While there are some limits included – like the number of requests that can be made in a given year and when a government agency would actually be required to delete personal information – the bill signals that New York is following calls for data collection transparency across the country. Still, it stops short of especially stringent legislation like California’s consumer privacy act, which requires disclosure of personal data collection from tech giants like Amazon and Facebook. Vanel’s bill, introduced last week, carries no co-sponsors yet.

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