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Texas is most recent state to enact comprehensive privacy legislation

Privacy, Cyber Risk & Data Security State Issues State Legislation Texas Consumer Protection

Privacy, Cyber Risk & Data Security

On June 18, the Texas governor signed HB 4 to enact the Texas Data Privacy and Security Act (TDPSA) and establish a framework for controlling and processing consumer personal data in the state. Texas follows California, Colorado, Connecticut, Virginia, Utah, Iowa, Indiana, Tennessee, and Montana in enacting comprehensive consumer privacy measures. Earlier this month, Florida also enacted privacy legislation, but the requirements focus on specific digital controllers with global gross annual revenues of more than $1 billion.

The TDPSA applies to a person that conducts business in the state or produces products or services consumed by state residents, processes or sells personal data, and is not a small business as defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration, except to the extent that it sells sensitive data which requires consumer consent. Unlike other states, there is no data-processing volume threshold. The TDPSA only protects consumers acting in an individual or household capacity and does not cover individuals acting in a commercial or employment context. Additionally, the TDPSA provides several exemptions, including financial institutions or data governed by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and certain other federal laws, nonprofit organizations, higher education institutions, covered entities governed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and certain utility companies.

Highlights of the TDPSA include:

  • Consumers’ rights. Under the TDPSA, consumers will be able to access their personal data; confirm whether their data is being processed; correct inaccuracies; request deletion of their data; obtain a copy of their data in a portable format; and opt out of the processing of their data for targeted advertising, the sale of their data, or certain profiling.
  • Data controllers’ responsibilities. Data controllers under the TDPSA will be responsible for, among other things: (i) responding to consumer requests within 45 days (unless extenuating circumstances arise) and providing requested information free of charge; (ii) establishing a process to allow consumer appeals after a controller’s refusal to take action on a consumer’s request; (iii) providing at least two methods for consumers to exercise their rights; (iv) limiting the collection of data to what is adequate, relevant, and reasonably necessary for a specified purpose; (v) securing personal data from unauthorized access; (vi) establishing easy opt-out methods that require consumers to affirmatively and freely choose to opt out of any processing of their personal data; (vii) processing data in compliance with state and federal anti-discrimination laws; (viii) obtaining consumer consent in order to process sensitive data; (ix) providing clear and reasonably accessible privacy notices; and (x) conducting and retaining data protection assessments and ensuring deidentified data cannot be associated with a consumer. The TDPSA also sets forth obligations relating to contracts between a controller and a processor, including ensuring that contracts between a controller and a processor do not waive or limit consumer data rights.
  • No private right of action. The TDPSA explicitly prohibits a private right of action. Instead, it grants the state attorney general excusive authority to enforce the law.
  • Right to cure. Upon discovering a potential violation of the TDPSA, the attorney general must give the data controller notice. The data controller then has 30 days to cure the alleged violation before the attorney general can file suit and seek up to $7,500 for each violation, as well as injunctive relief, attorney’s fees, and other expenses.

The TDPSA takes effect July 1, 2024, except for certain provisions relating to methods for submitting consumer requests, which shall take effect January 1, 2025.