Top States for Online Privacy

California has been named America's premier state for online privacy protection, according to a new analysis from digital security outfit Comparitech that suggests safeguards on consumer information vary considerably from state to state.

Thanks in part to its passage of the Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 – which Comparitech describes as "one of the toughest privacy laws in the United States" – California claimed the top spot in this year's updated rankings, supplanting Delaware as top dog after the First State took home the title last year.

Delaware still posted a respectable showing and tied Utah for second place, with Comparitech noting in its report that "laws that require the government to dispose of customer data after a set period of time, protect the privacy of e-reader and library data and protect employee privacy" helped Delaware "stand out."

But it still fell short of California after Golden State lawmakers signed off on a bill that, as Comparitech describes, "empowers consumers with the right to know what information any company has collected about them and whom that information is shared with." The law, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown late last month, has been compared to the General Data Protection Regulation requirements that went into effect in the European Union earlier this year.

"Furthermore, consumers can demand that a company delete their personal data, and companies must provide equal service to customers no matter what information they've collected," the Comparitech report says, also noting that California "has so far been the only state to protect" consumers' cloud data, metadata, emails, text messages, location data and device searches from law enforcement officials, should they attempt to put pressure on individual companies to hand over such information.

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