Online data now contains an immensely large amount of our personal information, and it can lead to dangerous situations if that data falls into the wrong hands. Without proper data-privacy laws, companies can run rampant acquiring and selling private information. Just visiting websites can lead to web “cookies” that track your browsing history.

Earlier this year, in March, for the second year in a row, a data-privacy bill failed to get passed by both the House and the Senate in the Washington State Legislature. The disagreement was over who could enforce data-privacy violations.

Why can our state not come to a consensus on this? Both of Washington’s state houses are majority Democratic, so party is not the issue. While other major, important movements are now occurring, we should not forget Washington state’s lack of data-privacy laws. These laws can also pertain to current issues, such as identification technology for the government and government tracking technology, which can be used to target those the government feels are a threat.

Data privacy is an important issue, and Washington needs to start building legislation to protect it.

Ben Freedheim, Seattle