California Privacy Bill Could Change National Privacy Landscape

Eye Spy on Your TV

The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 has passed the California State Legislature and is headed to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk, where he is expected to sign it. The bill sharply curtails what tech giants can do with your data, requires disclosure, allows consumers to opt-out of having their private information peddled, and empowers the California Attorney General to fine companies who aren’t in compliance with the law.

Eye Spy on Your TV

While a state law, the effects of this legislation would no doubt be felt throughout the country. California—the world’s fifth largest economy—tends to have an outsized effect on the rest of the country. In an effort to comply with this law, many companies could (and should) adopt a one-size-fits-all approach to privacy.

Alastair Mactaggart

The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 came to be, in part, because of a ballot initiative being led by real estate developer Alastair Mactaggart. Mr. Mactaggart has financed a much stricter initiative and gathered 600,000 signatures to get it on the November ballot. Legislators were trying to head that initiative off, and Mr. MacTaggart said he would scupper his effort if the Legislator passed this compromise bill.

Opposing the bill is a who’s-who of surveillance capitalism companies, including Facebook, Google, Twitter, Amazon, Uber, AT&T, Verizon, and even Microsoft. Many of those companies are California natives, as is Apple, a tech giant who did not oppose the bill.

As TechCrunch‘s Devin Coldewey put it, “It’s the kind of law one feels one could almost get behind without reading it, since it makes all the right people angry.”

Yes, indeed.

In addition tot he effects mentioned at the top of this piece, the bill would also prevent companies from retaliating against consumers who opt out of the being the product,. At the same time. the bill would allow companies to offer financial incentives to entice consumers into walking up the gangplank voluntarily.

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W. Abdullah Brooks, MD

Bryan: This is a complex topic, and I’ve debated the wisdom of even trying to respond to it, given that it requires a far more in depth treatment than a mere column comment can provide. Nonetheless, here goes. TLDR; The enactment of legislation, irrespective of the fate of the California initiative and others in near term, to provide greater control by individuals of their own data is inevitable, even if unsuccessful in near term. There are many reasons why people exercise poor judgement, make bad decisions and execute deleterious policies, even when their motive is not malfeasant or when they… Read more »

John Kheit

Also this doesnt prevent companies from creating shells to transfer this information from one shell to another that won’t be bound, much less through bankruptcy… relevant portion here: (2) For purposes of this title, a business does not sell personal information when: … (D) The business transfers to a third party the personal information of a consumer as an asset that is part of a merger, acquisition, bankruptcy, or other transaction in which the third party assumes control of all or part of the business provided that information is used or shared consistently with Sections 1798.110 and 1798.115. If a… Read more »

John Kheit

Sounds a bit too communist to me. How can you ‘opt out’ of having your information peddled when that IS the bargain. You get a free service because your info being peddled is the price you’re paying. You cannot mandate a free service.

I guess if you ‘opt out’ the system will then have to kick you off.

That said, despite my reservations of any thing remotely resembling reason coming out of california much less moon beam, I’m very pro privacy, so lets see what they actually pass.

Old UNIX Guy

“despite my reservations of any thing remotely resembling reason coming out of california much less moon beam” John – one of the great things about America is freedom of speech and I would do nothing to try to squash that … and now I’m going to exercise that right as you did. Your comment above is one of the most ignorant and uninformed things I’ve ever read that wasn’t uttered by Delusional Donald. But I thank you for expressing your opinion because you have just saved me some time … from this point forward if I’m browsing and there’s… Read more »

John Kheit

Im glad you found your safe space.