Legislators Introduce Comprehensive Consumer Privacy Bill
Alastair Mactaggart agrees to pull California Consumer Privacy Act upon passage of bill by Sens. Bob Hertzberg & Bill Dodd, and Asm. Ed Chau
SACRAMENTO – Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, joined with Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, and Assemblymember Ed Chau, D-Monterey Park, to introduce legislation Friday to address concerns about data breach security and internet privacy experienced by California consumers.
“This is a solid step toward empowering consumers, ensuring they have control over their data and are informed about how it is being used,” said Senator Bill Dodd, D-Napa. “It also gives them recourse in the event of future breaches, providing a strong incentive for firms to act responsibly.”
Recent data breaches that affected millions – those experienced by Target, Equifax, Cambridge Analytica, and many more – have raised concerns from Internet users around the world. The continued prevalence of such occurrences and uncertainty about what data is being collected has drawn the ire of consumer and public interest groups, while the threat of restrictive regulation worries tech companies, many of which are headquartered in and employ thousands of individuals in California.
In light of these concerns, senators Dodd and Hertzberg and Assemblymember Chau introduced legislation to expand the rights of consumers to know what data is being collected about them online, and even to delete it. The bill, which is now in print in the form of amendments to AB 375 (also on the subject of privacy), would also empower consumers to decline the sale of their information and report violations, which must then be addressed by the violator or risk civil action. It includes protections from Dodd’s existing bill, Senate Bill 1121.
“The idea that a person should have some say about how their personal information can be used, shared or sold is not a controversial question for everyday consumers – it is common sense,” said Assemblymember Ed Chau, who is Chair of the Assembly Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection. “In fact, it is consistent with the right of privacy enshrined in our constitution, and we as Legislators have an obligation to ensure privacy rights for online consumers. The agreement reached with the initiative proponents to move forward with a legislative solution is a significant step in providing California consumers more control over their data.”
“This is a 21st century crisis that deserves a 21st century solution,” said Senator Hertzberg. “We listened to every stakeholder at the table, including proponents of the privacy initiative on the ballot, to come to a legislative agreement that protects consumers at a level unseen by any current California law.”
AB 375 is substantially similar to the circulating ballot initiative on the same subject championed by Alastair Mactaggart, who has agreed to pull his initiative if AB 375 passes by the June 28 deadline. In fact, in some of its provisions, AB 375 would give more privacy protection to consumers than the ballot initiative would.
“This legislation, like the initiative, would provide simple, powerful rights to Californians: tell me what you know about me. Stop selling it. Keep it safe,” said Mactaggart. “If the bill passes before next week’s deadline to withdraw, we will withdraw our initiative. If it doesn’t, we will proceed to the November election. We are content either way, as we feel that both the legislative solution, and our initiative, provide tremendously increased privacy rights to Californians.”
In addition to the support of Mactaggart, the bill is sponsored by Common Sense Media, a privacy rights organization focused on children and families.
“When kids are online or on social media, it is absolutely vital that we ensure their privacy is protected,” said James P. Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense, which has long supported increased privacy rights for students and families, and was a sponsor of SOPIPA, which protects the privacy rights of students in California. “This is a critical first step in ensuring the privacy of kids, families, and all consumers and we’ll continue to fight to ensure there are strong data privacy regulations in place to protect Californians and all Americans.”
Senator Bill Dodd represents California’s 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Solano, Napa, Sonoma, Yolo, Sacramento, and Contra Costa counties. You can learn more about Senator Dodd at www.sen.ca.gov/dodd.