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Nevada Senate Leader Proposes Internet Privacy Regulations

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada’s Senate leader introduced emergency legislation Thursday that would mandate websites to disclose what types of personal information they collect in the state.

With the bill from Sen. Aaron Ford, Nevada joined a wave of roughly a dozen states that have taken up measures in the last two months to enhance internet privacy laws following the defeat of protections proposed on the federal level.

“It’s important that Nevada’s privacy laws reflect the fact that we are all conducting more and more of our lives online,” Ford said.

The Las Vegas Democrat wants to require all commercial websites, like Facebook, and internet service providers, such as Comcast, to notify consumers about categories of identifying information they amass.

Senate Bill 538 would also require internet operators to publish information on any third-party contractors who may be stockpiling user data.

The state attorney general could pursue fines or injunctions if internet operators willingly fail to publish the proposed notices within a month of being warned.
Ford’s name has been floated as a potential Democratic candidate for attorney general in 2018.

The sweeping legislation would apply to people who run business websites anywhere in the world, from a local diner in Nevada to e-commerce giant Alibaba in China, and encounter Nevadans’ first and last names, email addresses, locations or other potentially sensitive information.

The Federal Trade Commission already requires internet service providers to notify consumer of their privacy rights, industry lobbyist Mike Eifert said.

Eifert argued notification requirements should exclude small businesses like the rural telephone companies he represents at the statehouse, which he said are less likely than national companies to peddle people’s data.

“Certainly there are some players who use information to advertise, for instance, but a lot of these small ISPs don’t participate in that type of activity,” said Eifert, executive director of the Nevada Telecommunications Association.

President Donald Trump last month signed a law that could allow internet providers to sell information about their consumers’ online browsing habits. It nullified a regulation from the Federal Communications Commission that aimed to block broadband providers from mining people’s internet histories for profit, a rule that had not yet been implemented.

Nevada’s congressional delegation split on the measure to block the proposed FCC rule along party lines. U.S. Sen. Dean Heller co-sponsored Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake’s bill with 23 other Republicans.

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