Fighting For Your Digital Rights Across the Country: Year in Review 2023

Deeplinks 2023-12-29


EFF works every year to improve policy in ways that protect your digital rights in states across the country. Thanks to the messages of hundreds of EFF members across the country, we've spoken up for digital rights this year from Sacramento to Augusta.

Much of EFF's state legislative work has, historically, been in our home state of California—also often the most active state on digital civil liberties issues. This year, the Golden State passed several laws that strengthen consumer digital rights.

Two major laws we supported stand out in 2023. The first is S.B. 244, authored by California Sen. Susan Eggman, which makes it easier for individuals and independent repair shops to access materials and parts needed for maintenance on electronics and appliances. That means that Californians with a broken phone screen or a busted washing machine will have many more options for getting them fixed. Even though some electronics are not included, such as video game consoles, it still raises the bar for other right-to-repair bills.

S.B. 244 is one of the strongest right-to-repair laws in the country, doggedly championed by a group of advocates led by the California Public Interest Research Group, and we were proud to support it.

Another significant win comes with the signing of S.B. 362, also known as the CA Delete Act, authored by California Sen. Josh Becker. Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and Californians for Consumer Privacy led the fight on this bill, which builds on the state's landmark data privacy law and makes it easier for Californians to control their data through the state's data broker registry.

In addition to these wins, several other California bills we supported are now law. These include a measure that will broaden protections for immigration status data and one to facilitate better broadband access.

Health Privacy Is Data Privacy

States across the country continue to legislate at the intersection of digital privacy and reproductive rights. Both in California and beyond, EFF has worked with reproductive justice activists, medical practitioners, and other digital rights advocates to ensure that data from apps, electronic health records, law enforcement databases, and social media posts are not weaponized to prosecute those seeking or aiding those who seek reproductive or gender-affirming care. 

While some states are directly targeting those who seek this type of health care, other states are taking different approaches to strengthen protections. In California, EFF supported a bill that passed into law—A.B. 352, authored by CA Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan—which extended the protections of California's health care data privacy law to apps such as period trackers. Washington, meanwhile, passed the "My Health, My Data Act"—H.B. 1155, authored by WA Rep. Vandana Slatter—that, among other protections, prohibits the collection of health data without consent. While EFF did not take a position on H.B. 1155, we do applaud the law's opt-in consent provisions and encourage other states to consider similar bills.

Consumer Privacy Bills Could Be Stronger

Since California passed the California Consumer Privacy Act in 2018, several states have passed their own versions of consumer privacy legislation. Unfortunately, many of these laws have been more consumer-hostile and business-friendly than EFF would like to see. In 2023, eight states—Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, Oregon, Tennessee and Texas— passed their own versions of broad consumer privacy bills.

EFF did not support any of these laws, many of which can trace their lineage to a weak Virginia law we


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anonymity your to right repair! privacy defend


Hayley Tsukayama

Date tagged:

12/29/2023, 19:01

Date published:

12/29/2023, 14:42