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Georgia Senate passes privacy bill

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(The Center Square) — The Georgia Senate passed a measure that ostensibly protects Georgians’ privacy, but civil rights groups say it does more to protect technology companies than consumers.

The state Senate voted 37-15 in favor of Senate Bill 473, dubbed the “Georgia Consumer Privacy Protection Act.”

In speaking to the bill from the state Senate floor, state Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, said the measure was “almost exclusively” modeled after one created in Tennessee. However, while the Tennessee bill calls out specific exemptions, such as the federal HIPAA mandate, the Georgia measure has an exemption for federal regulations, which he recognized are likely to evolve.

“Our data is an electronic world now; it’s not like it was 10 or even 20 years ago,” Albers said. “This focuses on organizations, technologies and tools to make sure that you know where your protected data is and, ultimately, how to remove it if you want to delete it.

“Data privacy laws, in addition to giving peace of mind to consumers — each one of us — it can also benefit the companies to meet their compliance requirements,” Albers added. “When a company demonstrates compliance, consumers and third parties can know that their data is respected and secure, which means they are likelier to continue doing business with that company.”

However, the ACLU said it was disappointed state lawmakers opted to proceed with the measure, saying it doesn’t do enough to protect Georgia consumers.

“We are disappointed that Georgia passed Senate Bill 473 today,” Christopher Bruce, policy director of the ACLU of Georgia, said in a statement. “This bill is too heavy on big technology company protections and too light on actual protections for Georgians’ privacy.

“The ACLU of Georgia remains committed to meaningful consumer privacy protections and will continue to work with lawmakers in the Georgia House to support language that will actually protect how our most personal and unchangeable biological characteristics are collected, used, and sold.”

The bill takes effect on July 1, 2026.