Today the LA Time Editorial Board endorsed California Proposition 24 in an editorial entitled: “Endorsement: Yes on Prop. 24. It’s not perfect, but it would improve online privacy.” We are pleased that the newspaper with the largest circulation in California has endorsed Prop 24 after careful analysis and hearing from both proponents and opponents.
At a high-level, the LA Times first discusses three critical questions related to Prop 24, and the answers come out Yes in all three:
We could sink deeply into the history and the behind-the-scenes drama, but in the end, the questions for voters are whether Proposition 24 would make privacy protections stronger, whether it goes far enough to make a meaningful difference, and whether it would enable the state to provide even better protections in the future. The answer to all three is yes.
The LA Times then discusses the current state of play with respect to privacy and consumer privacy rights in California:
Although California’s current privacy law is the strongest in the country, it has many shortcomings. Its limits apply only to the sale of data, so some sites have circumvented them by claiming they’re not selling personal information, they’re merely sharing it with partners. That’s one of several glaring loopholes that big, data-hoovering sites and platforms such as Google, Facebook and Spotify have exploited.
In addition, only the state attorney general can bring enforcement actions, and Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra has said he can’t imagine bringing more than two of those a year. Plus, anyone found in violation has the right to correct the problem without penalty. In other words, every site and service starts with a get-out-of-jail-free card they can use repeatedly, once per different type of offense.
The Editorial then discusses the key benefits of Prop 24:
Proposition 24 would close many of the loopholes undermining the current law. Among other things, it would cover data sharing as well as sales, give Californians the explicit right to opt out of the kind of tracking that Google and other ad networks continue to do, provide new rights to correct information that’s been collected and stop the automated processing of personal data. It would define a new category of “sensitive personal information” — including race, sexual orientation, union membership and location — and let Californians limit its use online. It would establish and fund a new state agency to replace the overburdened attorney general’s office as the source and enforcer of data privacy rules. And it would bring California law much more closely into line with the European Union’s powerful privacy framework, the General Data Protection Regulation. [Editor’s note: see articles like GDPR vs. CCPA vs. CPRA and this comparison of GDPR to Prop 24 to confirm this claim.]
The LA Times then looks at the opposition to Prop 24 and comes to this conclusion:
Nevertheless, opponents do not make a compelling case. … The biggest concern raised by opponents of Proposition 24 is that the law says it should be implemented in a way that gives attention to the impact on businesses, which they argue will prevent the Legislature from adopting new privacy protections that further limit data collection. However, they’re misreading the proposition, which allows the Legislature to change the law (by a simple majority vote) only in ways that “are consistent with and further the purpose and intent of this Act.”
The LA Times then concludes:
In other words, the measure would set a solid foundation for online privacy rights in California, while leaving the door open for the Legislature to add on more protections. Vote yes on Proposition 24.
We agree: Vote Yes on Privacy and Yes on Proposition 24!