Group Behind California’s Data Privacy Law Wants Another One on the Ballot

September 25, 2019

The group behind California’s pending data privacy law is working to propose for the upcoming ballot a new law that would give consumers new data rights and place stricter obligations on companies.

The group has filed for an initiative with the Secretary of State to appear on the November 2020 ballot, called the California Privacy Enforcement Act.

The need for a new act, which needs signatures from 620,000 registered voters to qualify, was explained by Alastair Mactaggart, board chair and founder of Californians for Consumer Privacy, in a release that went out to the media on Wednesday.

“In the two years since introducing the legislation that passed as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which gives nearly 40 million people in this state the strongest data privacy rights in the country, I’ve realized the immense power consumers are up against when it comes to having true control over their own data,” the release states.

Mactaggart notes that during the time between the passage of the CCPA and now, large companies have prioritized weakening the act, and new technological tools have emerged “that exploit a consumer’s data with potentially dangerous consequences.”

The American Property Casualty Association issued a statement in response to the proposed initiative:

“APCIA has not reviewed the language, but in general the insurance industry has had robust privacy rules and regulations in place in California for decades. Additional duplicative and burdensome rules won’t add any additional protection for insurance consumers; they will drive unnecessary penalties and/or litigation.”

The new law, according to the release, would:

  • Create new rights around the use and sale of personal information, such as health and financial information, racial or ethnic origin and precise geolocation.
  • Provide enhanced protection for violations of children’s privacy by tripling CCPA’s fines for breaking the law governing collection and sale of children’s private information and would require opt-in consent to collect data from consumers under age 16.
  • Require transparency around automated decision-making and profiling.
  • Establish a new authority to protect these rights, the California Privacy Protection Agency.
  • Fix election disclosure laws and require corporations to disclose how they use personal information to influence elections.
  • Require that future amendments be in furtherance of the law.

“I am convinced that without regulation, this encroachment into people’s lives will distort the balance of power in society,” the statement reads. “In a very fundamental way, democracy depends on privacy. We are engaged in a new experiment now, where a handful of giant corporations know almost everything about us, chronicling everything we’ve searched for, following every one of our digital footprints, and analyzing that to control what we see every day. These are perhaps the most powerful tools for influence in human history…shouldn’t consumers have a choice about how their own data is used?”

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