Indiana Joins The Bandwagon In Passing A Comprehensive Privacy Law

By Gerald L. Maatman, Jr., Jennifer A. Riley, Alex W. Karasik, and Shaina Wolfe

Duane Morris Takeaways: The United States currently has no comprehensive data privacy law. Rather, a patchwork quilt of various privacy laws cover different types of data, such as information in credit reports (the Fair Credit Reporting Act), student records (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), and consumer financial products (Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act).  In an attempt to fill the void of federal legislation, Indiana recently joined six other states – California, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Utah, and Virginia – in enacting a comprehensive privacy statute, the Indiana Consumer Data Protection Act (“ICDPA”). At least nineteen states have introduced similar privacy bills this legislative session. Montana and Tennessee have comprehensive consumer privacy statutes pending signature by their governors. Businesses in Indiana should start immediately reviewing their policies and implementing processes for complying with ICDPA to avoid enforcement litigation by the Indiana Attorney General.

Indiana Legislation

On May 1, 2023, Indiana Governor Holcomb signed Senate Bill 5, known as the ICDPA. This new law will take effect on January 1, 2026.

The ICDPA applies to companies that conduct business in Indiana or produce products or services that are targeted to residents of Indiana and during a calendar year: (1) control or process the personal data of 100,000 consumers (who are Indiana residents) or (2) control or process personal data of at least 25,000 consumers (who are Indiana residents) and more than 50% of gross revenue from the sale of personal data. Significantly, the ICDPA does not apply to data processed or maintained in the course of applying to or being employed by a business. Moreover, the ICDPA does not apply to government entities, non-profit organizations or higher education institutions.

The ICDPA provides consumers with rights to their personal data, including:

– opt-out rights related to the sale of personal data, targeted marketing and profiling (automated decision making that could have significant legal effects, such as those related to employment and benefits);
– access rights, including a right to confirm whether a company is processing any data at all;
– deletion rights;
– correction rights, limited to data the consumer previously provided;
– appeal rights; and
– data portability rights (summary of the personal data sent to the consumer must be in a portable and readily usable format).

“Personal data” is broadly defined as information that is “linked or reasonably linkable to an identified or identifiable individual.” Personal data does not include de-identified data, publicly available information, or data related to a group or category of customers that is not linked or reasonably linked to an individual customer. The ICDPA also provides consumers the right to opt-out of the collection and processing of their sensitive personal data. “Sensitive personal data” includes: (1) personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, religious beliefs, a mental or physical health diagnosis made by a healthcare provider, sexual orientation, or citizenship or immigration status; (2) genetic or biometric data that is processed for the purpose of uniquely identifying a specific individual; (3) personal data collected from a known child; and (4) precise geolocation data. Certain personal data that is covered by other statutes like the Fair Credit Reporting Act or Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is exempt.

Once the ICDPA takes effect, companies must respond to a consumer personal data request within 45 days of receipt of the request. Companies may also seek a 45-day extension to respond. If a consumer appeals a company’s decision to deny the consumer’s request, the appeal response must be delivered within 60 days. If the appeal is denied, the company must provide the consumer with a method for contacting the state attorney general.

Importantly, the ICDPA does not provide individuals with a private right of action against businesses that violate the Indiana Law. Rather, the Indiana Attorney General will have exclusive enforcement authority. Prior to any enforcement action, the business will be allowed 30 days to cure the alleged violation. Only after the thirty days pass will the Indiana Attorney General be permitted to bring an enforcement action for the alleged violation. If the Indiana Attorney General decides to bring an enforcement action, the business may be fined up to $7,500 per violation.

Implications for Businesses

The ICDPA does not take effect until January 1, 2026. Covered businesses should start reviewing their policies and implementing processes for complying with the ICDPA to avoid enforcement by the Indiana Attorney General.

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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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