Campaign to Begin Gathering Signatures for Ballot Measure

SACRAMENTO, CA  Today, Attorney General Xavier Becerra released the title and summary for the California Privacy Rights Act:

AMENDS CONSUMER PRIVACY LAWS. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Permits consumers to: (1) prevent businesses from sharing personal information; (2) correct inaccurate personal information; and (3) limit businesses’ use of “sensitive personal information”—such as precise geolocation; race; ethnicity; religion; genetic data; union membership; private communications; and certain sexual orientation, health, and biometric information. Changes criteria for which businesses must comply with these laws. Prohibits businesses’ retention of personal information for longer than reasonably necessary. Triples maximum penalties for violations concerning consumers under age 16. Establishes California Privacy Protection Agency to enforce and implement consumer privacy laws, and impose administrative fines. Requires adoption of substantive regulations. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local governments: Increased annual state costs of roughly $10 million for a new state agency to monitor compliance and enforcement of consumer privacy laws. Increased state costs, potentially reaching the low millions of dollars annually, from increased workload to DOJ and the state courts, some or all of which would be offset by penalty revenues. Unknown impact on state and local tax revenues due to economic effects resulting from new requirements on businesses to protect consumer information. (19-0021A1.)

Californians for Consumer Privacy will be hitting the streets in less than a week to begin collecting signatures for qualification on the November 2020 ballot.

In July 2018, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) was signed into law, which goes into effect January 1, 2020. The California Privacy Rights Act would expand CCPA’s consumer rights, create more transparency and establish an enforcement arm to protect consumers.

“We’ve laid an historic foundation for consumer rights in California with the passage of the California Consumer Privacy Act, and now it’s time to seize that momentum and take the next step in enforcing and expanding the law to keep pace with an industry that is changing at a break-neck pace,” said Alastair Mactaggart, Founder of Californians for Consumer Privacy. “That’s why we’ve introduced a new initiative that will further protect our most personal information, increase fines for violating kids’ privacy, create more transparency and most importantly, establish an enforcement arm that truly looks out for consumers.”

“I’ve realized the immense power consumers are up against when it comes to having true control over their own data,” added Mactaggart. “When it comes to our most personal information, we should have the power to choose who knows about the most intimate details of our lives.”

“For several years now, I have been working with Mr. Mactaggart in the fight to protect Californians’ privacy,” said Senator Majority Leader Robert Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys).  “What we’ve realized is that we need to create a strong and effective privacy protection agency that will stand the test of time. The technology is changing so quickly, and the challenges of protecting our data are so complex, that pursuing this initiative is a critical path forward to achieving true privacy rights for Californians.”

The California Privacy Rights Act would:

  1. Protect our most personal information, by creating a new category of Sensitive Personal Information including our finances, race, biometric information, or information revealing our health status or our precise location; and then allow consumers to restrict the use of that information, including forbidding its use for any advertising or marketing.
  2. Enhance transparency by requiring companies to say how long they keep personal information (and not keep it longer); tell consumers why they are collecting personal information (and not use it for other purposes); tell consumers how much information they are collecting (which can’t be more than necessary to perform the service they say they are doing—no more flashlight apps stealing the contents of your address book).
  3. Safeguard our kids: Increase fines for collecting and selling our children’s private information.
  4. Help end online discrimination, by allowing consumers to know when and how automated decisions significantly affect their lives, for example if they are denied housing or a job opportunity because a program decided they were the wrong fit for the job, with no human involvement.
  5. Establish an enforcement arm: Establish a new authority to protect these rights, the California Privacy Protection Agency.

Recent polling by Goodwin Simon Strategic Research shows that Californians are overwhelmingly supportive of being in control of their most sensitive personal information, and they also want control over how their children’s data is used.

  • 88% would vote YES to support a ballot measure expanding privacy protections for personal information.