Kate Kox for Ars Technica: Virginia is about to get a major California-style data privacy law.

What would the Virginia law do?

The CDPA applies to entities that “control or process” personal information of 100,000 or more Virginia residents in a calendar year or to entities that make 50 percent or more of their gross revenue from the sale of personal data if they hold information about at least 25,000 residents. Basically, the big data brokers and companies with a major online presence would all be covered, but small businesses would not be. Under the law, these entities that determine “the purpose and means of processing personal data” are called “controllers.”

Covered consumers are also defined very explicitly in the bill, meaning specifically individuals acting on their own or in a “household context.” It does not include actions “in a commercial or employment context.” So if you’re using the Internet at home on your own time, you’re covered; if you’re using the Internet at work for work reasons, you’re not.

Provided that an interaction does involve a private consumer, a covered business, and covered personal information, however, then Virginia residents would gain a handful of explicit new rights for how their data is handled, including:

  • The right to confirm if a controller has your data and, if so, to see it
  • The right to correct inaccuracies in the data the controller has
  • The right to have a controller delete personal data provided by or obtained about you
  • The right to opt out of having your data used for targeted advertising; having it sold to a third party; or “profiling in furtherance of decisions that produce legal or similarly significant effects concerning the consumer.”

I’m very happy to see that this is moving forward and I’m happy that Ms. Cox has written this summary up. The Commonwealth’s legislature has several bills in the works right now that I think will be quite good for the people that live here.

I do wish that the federal government would put consumer protections in place for all citizens, but if the states have to do it - the states will have to do it.

My pick for Virginia Governor, Lee Carter, has pitched the idea of having a socialized medical program for the Commonwealth. If the federal government can’t get us in line with all other rich countries, the Commonwealth can do it itself.