Big Tech and Data Broker make billions of dollars a year by collecting and using our personal information. You should have the right to control how your personal information is used because the impact that these businesses may have on your life, and, after all, it is your data and you should have basic privacy rights that only Prop 24 (aka California Privacy Rights Act aka CPRA) will give you. We will expand a bit more on this in this blog post, or you can simply watch this 1 minute below!
Big Tech and Data Brokers
Businesses today collect massive amounts of personal data about you. Data such as what purchases you have made, what locations you have been to (e.g. a church, a cancer treatment center, an Alcoholics Anonymous office, if you had participated in a Black Lives Matter rally, etc.), if you are pregnant, what your weight is, what websites you have searched and from what IP addresses, what types of devices you use, your cell phone number, who your relatives are, etc. Many of these businesses then sell your personal data to other businesses, including firms known as “data brokers,” who aggregate that personal data and create profiles of you with 1000s of attributes and even “score” you in a multitude of categories.
For example, one Data Broker company called Acxiom advertises that it has up to 10,000 attributes per person. In fact, Acxiom advertises it has data on 2.5 billion “addressable consumers” that represents “68% of the world’s digital population” across 60+ countries.
Why is this bad for you and me to be “an addressable consumer”?
As this Fast Company article notes: “All that information can be used to create profiles of you—think of them as virtual, possibly erroneous versions of you—that can be used to target you with ads, classify the riskiness of your lifestyle, or help determine your eligibility for a job.”
So, you may say, “so what if I get a bunch of personalized ads?” But this also opens the door for businesses to use automated decision making to not give certain people health insurance, or not hire someone who attend a Black Lives Matter rally, or have ads served to you with quack cancer cures if you had recently visited a cancer center.
Or as we have seen with Cambridge Analytica, use that data to play on your fears to manipulate you or influence you to vote for a certain candidate, or for a foreign adversary to fuel internal rage with our citizens. There is also a cybersecurity element to this — for example hackers can use this information to easily crack your security questions (e.g. “what high school did you go to”?) and break into your online accounts.
Enter Prop 24
These companies make billions of dollars a year by collecting and using our personal information. The opportunities for you to get employment, open a bank account, get credit or insurance, and secure housing are endangered by the unrestricted collection, processing, sale and even misuse of your personal information. You should have the right to control how your personal information is used because the impact that these businesses may have on your life, and, after all, it is your data and you should have basic privacy rights that only Prop 24 and CPRA will give you.
To be clear, Prop 24 and CPRA is not aimed at any one company. CPRA is aimed at a set of business practices where you are tracked constantly, and your personal information monetized. If you are a business and use personal information in a way that your customers are comfortable with, then you should have nothing to fear, and likely, privacy regulations will not have a major impact on your operations. If, however, you use personal information in a way that would lead many of your customers or site visitors to say, wait a second, I never agreed to that, I didn’t expect you’d do that with my information, then such a business should be prepared to make substantial changes to its business model in light of the passage of Prop 24.
The reality is that businesses are expanding their use of big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques to gather increasingly more and more personal information about you. Your personal data is increasingly the fuel that powers their businesses. Prop 24 gives Californians a wide range of new privacy rights. Prop 24 levels the playing field and gives you a say on how those businesses can or cannot use your own personal data.
We urge you to Vote Yes on Prop 24 to better protect our kids’ online privacy, reduce Identity theft, and give you the important privacy rights to take back control over your personal data.