On May 22, 2024

H.121 poses significant risk to Vermont’s business community

Dear Editor,

As the CEO of the Vermont Country Store (VCS), I strongly support consumer privacy as does the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and many peer companies in the state. I wholeheartedly endorse the Connecticut law that was the foundation of H.121. However, as passed it is my hope that Governor Scott will veto H.121.

I am extremely concerned about certain provisions of H.121 and the threat they pose to small businesses, including businesses based in Vermont.

Removing the private right of action provision. While well intended, this provision is an opportunity for unscrupulous attorneys to prey on businesses that benefit their clients very little and are extremely costly to small and mid-sized businesses.

Striking the data minimization requirement. The language can be interpreted in many ways and will most certainly result in lawsuits, particularly coupled with private right of action. No small business can reasonably be expected to comply, especially when the language is unclear.

There should be no enhanced “consent” requirement that mandates browse-wrap agreements or the more invasive kinds of pop-ups. 

This is punitive to small business and where they never pop up, a windfall for big businesses like Amazon.

The Vermont Country Store is not “Big Tech.” We are a mid-sized retailer that’s been part of the Vermont fabric since 1946. 

Vermonters deserve a new privacy law that strikes the balance of strong protections for consumers, while not unintentionally exposing our state’s business community to significant risk.

Jim Hall                                                                     

President & CEO of the Vermont Country Store

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