A ride sharing app should know exactly where you are at so it can pick you up at the right location. But what if that ride sharing app then sold your location to other businesses to do whatever they want with your location? You may say no big deal, what’s the worst they can do, send me some ads for nearby restaurants? But businesses could also use your location to determine if you are at a medical treatment center, a church, a protest, etc., and then maybe use that information to discriminate against you. And do you really want to be tracked all the time by 100s of businesses that you have no relationship with?
Our geolocation is very sensitive personal information and should be limited to the ways we want a small number of businesses to use it. In this blog post we will explore how Prop 24 can limit businesses from tracking your location and using your sensitive personal information. Or watch this 1-minute video below to learn more on this topic!
Limiting Use of Sensitive Data
Prop 24 (aka the California Privacy Rights Act of 2020, or also known as “CPRA”) introduces a powerful new concept covering your most sensitive personal information. Under the existing law (California Consumer Privacy Act or CCPA), you only have the right to stop the sale of your personal information. CPRA goes much further, and lets you tell businesses not to use your most sensitive information, unless it’s to deliver you a product you are asking for
Here is the definition of “sensitive personal information” as found in Prop 24:
“Sensitive personal information” means: (1) personal information that reveals (A) a consumer’s social security, driver’s license, state identification card, or passport number; (B) a consumer’s account log‐in, financial account, debit card, or credit card number in combination with any required security or access code, password, or credentials allowing access to an account; (C) a consumer’s precise geolocation; (D) a consumer’s racial or ethnic origin, religious or philosophical beliefs, or union membership; (E) the contents of a consumer’s mail, email and text messages, unless the business is the intended recipient of the communication; (F) a consumer’s genetic data; and (2)(A) the processing of biometric information for the purpose of uniquely identifying a consumer; (B) personal information collected and analyzed concerning a consumer’s health; or (C) personal information collected and analyzed concerning a consumer’s sex life or sexual orientation.
So, you can see that covers a lot of, well, sensitive information about you.
Then from there, it specifically lets you limit the usage of that sensitive personal information:
“A consumer shall have the right, at any time, to direct a business that collects sensitive personal information about the consumer to limit its use of the consumer’s sensitive personal information to that use which is necessary to perform the services or provide the goods reasonably expected by an average consumer who requests such goods or services…”
Let’s Talk Geolocation
One key element of sensitive personal information is your precise geolocation—exactly where you’re standing or driving. With Prop 24 including geolocation in the definition of your sensitive information, Prop 24 will let you stop a business from tracking you and knowing exactly where you are at all times.
Here’s how Prop 24 defines geolocation:
“Precise geolocation” means any data that is derived from a device and that is used or intended to be used to locate a consumer within a geographic area that is equal to or less than the area of a circle with a radius of one thousand, eight hundred and fifty (1,850) feet, except as prescribed by regulations.”
Now 1,850 feet may not sound like lot, but this works out to a circle of about 250 acres. So this new right means you can stop a business knowing exactly where you are—it can know you are in LA or San Diego, but it can’t know whether you’re in the gym, the hospital or a bar. This allows for basic advertising—you’d see an ad for an LA car dealer, and not one in Louisiana—but businesses wouldn’t be able to track how many times you’d eaten at McDonalds or left work early.
In summary, Prop 24 limits Big Tech and other businesses from tracking your location and using your sensitive personal information. This is another great example of how Prop 24 strengthens privacy rights. Vote Yes on Prop 24!