Indiana senators have made privacy law their top priority

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Senate Republicans say one of their top priorities this session is to give Hoosiers more power over what companies do with their personal information.

“We want to protect our Hoosiers, and we want them to be confident that the data they publish is secured as it should be,” said State Senator Liz Brown (R-Fort Wayne).

Brown has again introduced legislation that would allow Hoosiers to learn from companies what data they collect and how it’s used. Hoosiers would also have the right to ask companies to delete their information or not use it for certain purposes.

The bill also requires companies to conduct annual assessments to ensure the data they store is protected.

The legislation would be enforced by the Attorney General.

“We’re at the top,” Brown said. “We had California and Virginia and a few states in between. And we’ll be the sixth state to do it. And that’s a big deal.”

The bill passed unanimously in the Senate last year but didn’t receive a vote from the full House of Representatives because some lawmakers believed social media posts would be affected, Brown said. But that’s not the case, she added, feeling confident about the bill’s chances in this session.

“I think people don’t realize how much data is being collected about all of us pretty much all the time, every time we go online,” said Scott Shackelford, executive director of the IU Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research.

There are several reasons companies collect consumer data, Shackelford said.

“Often it’s to repackage that information and resell it to other third parties, perhaps for marketing or other reasons,” he explained.

Shackelford said he believes the Indiana law is a step in the right direction.

“It does a lot of what we’ve seen in these other states, including increasing transparency for consumers,” Shackelford said. “It gives us a better idea of ​​what’s being collected.”

Some companies that are already regulated by federal law, such as financial and banking institutions and healthcare providers, are exempt from the state bill, Brown said.

The bill is expected to be heard in the next few weeks, she said.