West Virginia Law Review

Document Type

Student Note


Today’s businesses invariably leverage consumer data to create business insights, such as marketing strategies and consumer behavior analyses. As a result, consumers have placed an emphasis on data privacy and security. In response, many states have proposed comprehensive legislation aspiring to regulate the collection and usage of consumer data by businesses, grant individual rights to consumers, and provide for a method of enforcement. House Bill 3159 represents West Virginia’s most recent attempt at doing so, serving as an indication that the state is working diligently to enhance the data privacy of its residents.

Although enacting a comprehensive data privacy law in West Virginia would symbolize an important victory for consumers, such a law would simultaneously carry a risk of inhibiting business growth by restricting the availability of consumer data. Accordingly, the state legislature must prioritize striking a balance between the competing interests of consumers and businesses. To do so, the law must offer sufficient protection for consumer data without unduly hindering business innovation using that data.

After surveying analogous laws in other states, this Note argues for the inclusion of several features within a data privacy law in West Virginia to achieve that balance: (1) a distinction between ordinary and sensitive consumer data; (2) a right to opt-out of certain processing activities; (3) an applicability framework that requires compliance only from businesses that collect and/or use a substantial amount of consumer data; (4) a duty to practice data minimization and to conduct data protection assessments; and (5) private right of action qualified by a cure period for businesses.



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