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Lawmaker stops his own plan to protect personal information because of the price tag

Colorado's fiscally-conservative House Minority Leader introduced a bill about the state deleting personal information that is the opposite of fiscally-conservative.

DENVER — A fiscally conservative Colorado state lawmaker introduced a bill that is the exact opposite of fiscal conservatism.

Concerned about the personal information the state health department has access to, as a result of contact tracing, House Minority Leader Rep. Hugh McKean (R-Loveland) sponsored a bill that would require state agencies to contact people every 90 days, alerting them to the information kept on file, and giving them the choice to have it deleted.

Personal information like:

  • Medical information
  • Biometric data
  • Username
  • Email addresses
  • IP addresses
  • Geolocation

The documents that might reveal that information include:

  • Vehicle registration
  • Driver's licenses
  • Income tax returns
  • Professional licenses
  • Criminal history
  • Background checks
  • Student and alumni records
  • State employee records
  • Court documents

When it comes to contact tracing, the information kept by the state is minimally invasive, at least according to the COVID-19 website for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Contact tracers for public health will not ask for social security numbers or financial information.

The site states that public health will not share your health or personal identifying information without your permission.

"My bill would actually give people the opportunity to ask the state to purge their personally-identifiable information on a regular basis," said McKean.

He wanted that to happen.

Until he found out how much it would cost.

"It's a little bit like when you buy your first car, and you're like 'hold on, how much was that,'" said McKean. "This one was $2.7 billion, with a 'B', dollars."

Not so fiscally conservative.

"This is not just a cost of $2.7 billion, it's in an increase of 6,800 state employees," said McKean.

The fiscal note, which estimates how much legislation would cost the state, showed that it would take $2.7 billion and the equivalent of 6,800 employees from July 2021 to June 2022, and then $2 billion and 4,500 employees the next year.

Needless to say, McKean is not moving his bill forward.

"I think we can take the information we got and convert this bill, which would require the state to notify people into more of a study about what we do with data and how we secure it. And that won't cost a penny," said McKean.

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