Subscribe to receive our Floor Reports covering all the action on the Texas House and Senate floor!
Relating to prohibiting the reidentification of certain deidentified information and the release of any reidentified information; creating a criminal offense.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
SB 1213 would add Chapter 506 in the Business & Commerce Code. Chapter 506 would prohibit a person from attempting to reidentify an individual’s information that has been “deidentified” or scrubbed of any information that may identify that individual. This chapter would also prohibit a person from disclosing reidentified information.
However, this bill would make reidentifying information for scholarly research a legitimate defense against prosecution.
Finally, SB 1213 would make it a Class A misdemeanor if a person is convicted of violating any provisions of this bill. Moreover, a person whose information may have been reidentified would have a private cause of action against the guilty party.
The House committee version defines what "covered information" consists of, adds a list of notice requirements, and caps liability for violators at $500 per violation, not to exceed $150,000 total. We remain supportive of SB 1213. The second chamber sponsor is Rene Oliveira.
First chamber recommendation:
Currently, state agencies collect massive amounts of data on citizens. According to the author’s statement of intent, “this data has been known to be sold to private institutions or research companies.”
To protect an individual’s privacy, state agencies will put the collected data through a de-identification or anonymization process before selling it. This process is supposed to remove any information that could identify an individual. However, some have shown that this de-identified data can be re-identified because the former process is inadequate to protect the private information of individuals.
This legislation would attempt to clarify the laws against people who exploit data that has been re-identified by making it a crime to re-identify or disseminate such information.
It is imperative that the government take all necessary steps to protect the private information of individuals. Since the information the government collects is often mandatory, people have no choice but to trust that the government will hold to its word by keeping their information private. Failure to do so could lead to a number of unintended consequences ranging from unwanted solicitation to identity theft.
We support SB 1213 because it protects a person’s identity, which is akin to protecting his or her private property.