Tennessee, Montana Pass Comprehensive Consumer Privacy Bills

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The trend of state-level privacy laws is gaining momentum in the U.S. as Montana and Tennessee became the latest to pass comprehensive legislation.

Both bills cleared their state legislatures in April and await their respective governors’ signatures before becoming law. If passed, Montana’s law would become effective on Oct. 1, 2024, followed by Tennessee on July 1, 2025.

Montana takes its privacy concerns a step further with a proposal to ban TikTok. Gov. Greg Gianforte has also requested to broaden the bill, making it applicable to all social media apps that provide certain data to foreign adversaries, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, the existing patchwork of state-level laws already poses massive compliance challenges to adland.

“California tried to downplay just how expensive it will be to comply with its law,” said Roy Wyman, an attorney at Bass, Berry & Sims who has written about the need for federal-level privacy legislation. “We’ve got companies that will spend millions of dollars just for compliance with California.”

Concurrently, people are increasingly requesting companies to modify or delete their data, limiting marketers’ ability to scale customized ads.

The net effect is that marketing teams must partner with a capable compliance group, and marketing and advertising technologies must be reviewed much more carefully to ensure risks are known and contained, said Matt Voda, CEO of cross-channel measurement firm OptiMine.

“Even things as simple as marketing attribution can create enormous new risks for brands, who may be handling [personal identifiable information] and unknowingly creating future problems for themselves,” he added.

Businesses are better shielded from Tennessee’s law

Similar to Virginia’s privacy law, Tennessee’s provisions are more business-friendly.

The Tennessee Information Protection Act (TIPA) applies to companies with an annual revenue cap of $25 million while processing personal information of 175,000 or more Tennessee residents or processing the data of 25,000 residents and deriving 50% of their gross revenue from the sale of that data.

The law exempts nonprofits, HIPPA-covered entities and financial institutions.

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