The Best & Worst States in America for Online Privacy 

Privacy rights …. an extremely important topic that people are finally realizing is something they should be concerned about. When I’ve asked people if they care about privacy 5+ years ago, a common response was “I’m not doing anything special so who cares if somebody is watching”. Another common response was “why would somebody care about what I’m doing when there are better and more interesting targets out there?”. In general, the average person didn’t care about privacy rights.

Fast forward to today and people are finally wondering what the impact would be if their privacy is violated or if what they are doing would violate somebody else’s privacy. I’ve had people point out concerns that they have searched for a topic and found they are bombarded by advertisements for months on the topic following the search (IE who is watching and how is collected data sold across different parties). For example, they search for jewelry on their computer and later find jewelry advertisements while watching a YouTube video. This example concern is how your data is being sold and abused by vendors and service providers. The “big brother/big sister” is watching concept has gain a lot of interest based on various legal actions against technology giants such as Facebook admitting data is collected and sold.

Another concern is the impact of stolen data. Data thief has finally become a mainstream concern and people are thinking about how to protect themselves. I remember years ago people messing around with phone hacking to capture pictures of friends for the pure joy of making fun of them. I recall a few months back somebody speaking about a similar technology demo during a security conference and the HR of their company pointing out that performing a demo would not only put their company at risk of legal action, but most likely be a reason to terminate anybody involved based on data privacy violations.

Both of these concerns have led to a growing desire for understand what our privacy rights are and how to better protect ourselves from both data thief as well as data abuse. This desire ranges from large companies to the average user. What are your rights and what happens when they are violated?

Some industries such as Healthcare in the USA have strong data privacy laws however, what about our general privacy? What is shared when you use technology and what privacy laws protect you? The answer to these questions is complex and continues to be redefined as governments review old laws and attempt to modernize them based on the speed of change seen in technology. For example, there is a huge legal action taking place today (feb 2023) against Google regarding ISIS being able to use such services to recruit members. The results of this case could protect or expose how large IT services apply privacy and filtering. Facebook has seen massive fines for violations of data privacy in many parts of the world since the laws are different in each country. The impact can be huge and the answer continues to change as people care about this topic.

For people in the USA, you first need to understand there are federal laws as well as state laws. I’ve personally been involved in a legal action, which they thought I lived in one state and based a case on that state’s laws. When they found out I’m based in another state, their entire case fell apart. This means you need to understand how your country and local area view privacy as well as when each law comes into effect. Then you need to understand when one law supersedes another. Hence … its a complex answer but worth understanding the basics.

A reader shared with me a very interesting article about privacy in the USA, which ranks the best to worst privacy laws in the USA found HERE. This article highlights how US citizens in different states have different rights, which will impact your situation. As I stated earlier, I avoided a bunch of legal pain purely based on where I live in the USA. If you are wondering about your rights, you are going to have to do a little research. The same concept applies to any country on this planet. There will be laws (hopefully) and you need to research where you live to best understand your specific situation.

I suggest checking out this best to wort privacy law post found HERE. It will give you a better sense of how privacy law works in the USA. Hopefully, you won’t be put in a situation when you and your lawyer team are reviewing these laws post incident.

For those just interested in the ranking, here it is. See the article for explaining how they came up with this.

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