Texas Joins the Ranks of Comprehensive State Privacy Laws

June 2023

The list of U.S. states implementing comprehensive privacy legislation is on the verge of hitting double digits. The Texas Legislature recently passed HB 4, known as the Texas Data Privacy and Security Act, which has now been sent to Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, for further action.

Once signed into law, Texas will become the 10th state to establish a comprehensive privacy framework. Notably, HB 4 is set to take effect before several other state laws passed earlier this year, with an effective date of July 1, 2024. While the bill draws inspiration from existing statutes, it also introduces new provisions not previously seen in other states. The framework established by Virginia's privacy law serves as the foundation for HB 4, offering a familiar structure for privacy regulation in Texas.

Texas latest to add comprehensive state privacy law

Learn More

HHS Grants HIPAA Penalty Waivers in Texas

February 2021

In response to the winter storms in Texas, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced the waiver of penalties for five provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) for health care providers in the affected areas. According to a report from Becker's Hospital Review, penalties will not be enforced on health care providers or their business associates within the declared disaster zones. The waiver remains in effect for up to 72 hours following the declaration. Specific provisions covered by the waivers include the distribution of notice of privacy practices and a patient's right to request privacy restrictions.

HHS waives HIPAA penalties in Texas

Learn More

Privacy professionals disappointed by Texas privacy council's report

September 2020

The Texas Privacy Protection Advisory Council, which was expected to play a crucial role in shaping the state's privacy law, has left privacy professionals underwhelmed with its final report and recommendations. Anticipation had been high for the council's input, with hopes that it would provide meaningful suggestions to aid state lawmakers in drafting an effective privacy bill. However, the council's submission has been deemed lacking in substantial recommendations that could contribute to the development of a workable legislation. The disappointment among privacy professionals raises questions about the path forward for privacy regulation in Texas as the Legislature planned to convene in January 2021.

Privacy pros underwhelmed by Texas privacy council’s report

Learn More

Advertising associations push against opt-in consent proposals in Texas privacy legislation

August 2020

Advertising trade associations have expressed their concerns to the Texas Privacy Protection Advisory Council regarding potential "unintended side effects" that could arise from privacy legislation currently being considered by the Texas Legislature. In a letter, the associations emphasized the importance of avoiding "unreasonable restrictions on digital advertising" that could have detrimental impacts on both consumers and businesses. Specifically, they urged the rejection of proposals that require consumers' opt-in consent for data collection, deeming it an overly restrictive approach. This development highlights the ongoing debate surrounding privacy and advertising practices in Texas.

Advertising associations urge Texas Legislature to reject opt-in consent proposals

Learn More

Texas attorney general investigates Facebook's biometric data practices

July 2020

The Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, has announced an investigation into Facebook for potential violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices — Consumer Protection Act. The probe focuses on allegations that Facebook unlawfully collected users' biometric data. In pursuit of the investigation, Paxton's office has requested documents related to a lawsuit in Illinois involving the Biometric Information Privacy Act, which is nearing a settlement of $650 million with Facebook. This development underscores growing concerns about the protection of personal biometric information and the actions of tech companies in Texas.

Texas attorney general investigating Facebook’s biometric data practices

Learn More

Texas Recognizes IAPP PLS Certification as Official Legal Specialty

May 2020

The Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS) has officially accredited the Privacy Law Specialist (PLS) certification offered by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP). With this accreditation, Texas becomes one of the few states, alongside Minnesota and Alabama, to recognize the PLS designation as an official legal specialty. In an interview with IAPP Staff Writer Joe Duball for The Privacy Advisor, the TBLS discussed the collaborative efforts that led to this significant recognition. This development highlights the growing recognition and importance of privacy law expertise in the legal field.

IAPP PLS certification given specialty designation in Texas

Learn More