CT Sen. Hwang Applauds Passage of Online & Social Media Data Privacy Legislation

Hartford, CT - Sen. Tony Hwang today applauded the Connecticut State Senate’s passage of online and social media data privacy legislation.

The legislation, which now awaits a vote in the House, aims to strengthen Connecticut’s laws to better protect children and people of all ages by maintaining checks and balance against Controllers, a for-profit entity which determines the purpose and means of processing personal data.

“Last year, Connecticut passed nationally recognized internet provider data privacy legislation (Public Act 22-15), and Connecticut must continue to lead the nation in the area of protecting people’s data and online privacy,” Sen. Hwang said. “This is especially crucial when it comes to controversial solutions to protecting our children on the internet and social media. Our children’s safety is paramount. We must strive to be a role model for other states when it comes to social media safety and making the internet safer for children.”

The legislation limits mental health and safety risks that controllers (social networks, and other online services) may pose to some children and teenagers. Last year, California enacted a sweeping online safety law that will require many social networks and other services to install the equivalent of seatbelts and airbags for younger users.

The legislation will:

  • require social media platforms to remove/unpublish content within 15 days business days after a minor’s or their guardian’s request, and delete content within 45 business days after such request
  • prohibit controllers of targeted advertising, data sales algorithm profiling
  • prohibit controllers from collecting a minor’s “precise geolocation data” without disclosure
  • prohibit controllers from offering direct messaging without having safeguards reasonably necessary to prevent an adult who is not connected to minors from sending an unsolicited message. 

The legislation addresses social media data privacy and safety beyond minors, such as:

  • requiring online dating platforms to create an online safety center which provides an explanation of the mechanism to report unwanted, harmful behavior.
  • providing safety advice for communicating online and meeting in person
  • providing a link to Connecticut domestic violence prevention and sexual harassment resources education
  • providing information on romance scams
  • creating a policy of handling reports of harassment between users.

Sen. Hwang has been an active participant and contributor in a legislative working group that has focused on policy solutions which strengthen this complex and fast changing area of regulatory law. In 2022, Sen. Hwang voted in favor of legislation aimed to better protect consumers online in Connecticut and provide some of the strongest data privacy protections for consumers in the country. That legislation, which is now law, gave people:

  • The right to know what data is being collected and to correct what information is collected
  • The right to delete information that is collected
  • The right to export his or her own personal data that was collected (“portability”)
  • The right to opt out of having any data collected

“In bipartisan fashion, we reaffirm our commitment to protecting people's personal data and protecting consumers and our young people,” Sen. Hwang said. “It is critical that consumers know what information is being collected and how it is being used. Controllers are maximizing their spread and impact by harvesting and selling information that too often is being collected without that person’s knowledge. The state of Connecticut must stay at the forefront of important protections for every person to control and privately maintain their own information and determine who has access and needs to be balanced against Controllers business operation. Most importantly, people should have the right to say ‘NO’, to having their personal information captured or sold.”

*Senator Tony Hwang is a Chief Deputy Senate Republican Leader in the Connecticut General Assembly representing Newtown, Sandy Hook, Easton, Fairfield and portions of Bethel.  Hwang was the former Chairman of the Public Safety and Protection Committee with cognizance on internet safety.  On the web: www.SenatorHwang.com

Submitted by Fairfield, CT

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