The Eyes (And Privacy Laws) Of Texas Are Upon You…

by Eric Levy – JDSUPRA

Consistent with the cliché that “everything’s bigger in Texas,” the Texas legislature has introduced not one, but two separate bills relating to the privacy of personal information. Although still in their nascent stages, both bills are following California’s lead in creating enhanced and stringent privacy protections for individual consumers.

House Bill 4390, dubbed the Texas Privacy Protection Act (TPPA) is arguably the less onerous of the two bills, although you might not necessarily realize it at first blush, given the broad way it defines “personal identifying information” (PII). In addition to the traditional categories of information protected by privacy statutes (social security number, driver’s license numbers, credit card or financial account information, etc.), PII includes biometric information (fingerprint, voice print, retina or iris image, or any other unique physical representation), religious affiliation or practice information, racial or ethnic origin information, unique genetic information, physical or mental health information, precise geolocation data and the private communications or other user-created content of an individual that is not publicly available. This alone will considerably expand the scope of entities that will likely have to comply with the law.