September 24, 2018

California Enacts Nation’s Strictest Data Privacy Law

02 July 2018, 02:27 | Megan Pierce

Brown sends daylight saving measure to November ballot

With the federal government missing in action California should set its own rules for internet privacy

Assembly Bill 375, or the California Consumer Privacy Act, passed both sides of the statehouse and trumps a competing initiative planned for the November ballot. Jerry Brown signed on Thursday the strongest protections of consumer data in the nation. In what has been described as a "Hobbesian" choice by one state legislator, AB 375 is now on the cusp of passing.

The California Chamber of Commerce and other opponents, however, said they preferred AB375 to the ballot measure because of the possibility the Legislature could refine it before it takes effect in 2020.

Mr. Mactaggart spent $3 million on the related initiative but withdrew it shortly after the law was signed.

The bill by Democratic Assemblyman Ed Chau gives companies the ability to offer discounts to customers who allow their data to be sold and charge those who opt out a reasonable amount based on how much the company makes selling the information.

California, often at the forefront of legislative trends, has probably not created a data-privacy-bill roadmap in this case. It also forces companies to delete that information upon a consumer's request. The terms apply only to users in California.

The CCPA will apply to any for-profit entity doing business in California that (1) collects consumers' personal information (PI) exclusively or jointly with others, and (2) either (i) exceeds $25 million in annual gross revenues; (ii) annually transacts in the PI of 50,000 or more consumers, households or devices; or (iii) derives half or more of its annual revenues from PI sales. If the initiative is passed, then the Legislature will be virtually unable to amend the law in the future.

The only problem: The deadline for removing a measure from the ballot is today. "When that happens next year, effective privacy protections must be included that actually protect against rampant misuse of personal information, make sure that companies cannot retaliate against Californians who exercise their privacy rights, and ensure that Californians can actually enforce their personal privacy rights".

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Consumers can opt out of their data being sold, and businesses can't retaliate by changing the price or level of service.

In a note to the Assembly, Brown cited that out of 482 cities in the state four are considering passing a soda tax to combat the risky and ill effects of too much sugar in children's diets, which triggered the beverage industry into bringing "a far-reaching initiative" to the ballot that he described as an abomination for legislators.

"I think that, even though the law will be delayed in its implementation, I think it will have an immediate impact, just on the virtue of its existence", Hertzberg, one of the co-authors of the bill, said.

Brown hasn't taken a position on the bill but his Finance Department says the administration supports it if it will spike the ballot measure.

"I'm referring to big soda, the big soda industry that ... uses that extraordinary monetary and economic influence to hold the citizens of California hostage", Monning said.

Associated Press food industry writer Candice Choi contributed.

However, the Norwegian Consumer Council recently stepped forward with claims that tech firms such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft instituted changes to their user controls that only give consumers "the illusion" of privacy.

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