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Nevada Senate panel hears bill on internet privacy rules

CARSON CITY — Internet providers and website operators would have to provide notices on what information they gather from Nevada consumers and how that information is shared under a bill heard Wednesday by a Senate committee.

Presented by Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford, D-Las Vegas, Senate Bill 538 is a state response to the repeal of federal rules by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump in April.

“These rules would have given internet users greater control over what service providers can do with their data,” Ford told members of the Senate Committee on Commerce Labor and Energy.

The Federal Communications Commission rules were to take effect this year.

Ford, who is sponsoring the bill with Democratic Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, said two states have enacted internet privacy laws and more than a dozen others are considering laws following the federal government’s repeal.

One question that arose at Wednesday’s hearing was how the bill would affect government websites.

The City of Las Vegas proposed an amendment to include local governments, a move representatives said could protect constituent information from public record disclosures.

Shannon Rahming, administrator of the Division of Enterprise IT Services and the state’s chief information officer, testified neutral on the bill but said the scope of its application is unclear. Her agency manages many state government websites.

Personal information is collected, for example when people apply for hunting or fishing licenses online, or register their vehicles through the Department of Motor Vehicles website.

Rahming said a staff survey showed 66 agency websites contain more than 230 forms that ask for personal information.

Ford proposed an amendment to exempt websites with fewer than 20,000 unique visitors per year.

Christopher Oswald, vice president of Data and Marketing Association, submitted a letter in opposition.

Oswald said the bill “impedes the responsible collection and use of information that is vital to large and small businesses and nonprofit organizations, and is a crucial component of the Nevada economy.”

He also argued that complying with a “patchwork” of state laws place an increasing burden on businesses.

No action was taken by the committee Wednesday.

Contact Sandra Chereb at schereb@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3821. Follow @SandraChereb on Twitter.

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