On August 22, Marketwatch published an article entitled “California’s landmark privacy law is Facebook’s next ‘nightmare’.”  In this blog will talk about how experts are seeing the potential impact of pro-consumer privacy protections as delivered by Prop 24 on Big Tech firms.

The first part of the article highlights the impact of the existing California Consumer Privacy Act on Big Tech firms like Facebook: 

  • “While navigating a mammoth advertiser boycott and potential federal antitrust charges, Facebook Inc.’s chief financial officer [David Wehner] may be most concerned about California’s strict new privacy law.”
  • Wehner was quoted as saying in Facebook’s most recent earnings call:  “You know, in the near term, that’s really around implementing CCPA. And in the longer term it’s more potential for further similar regulation across the globe,” Wehner said. “We’re seeing an impact to the business from CCPA today. We don’t know what the impact will be. How things play out will depend on advertiser implementation, adoption rates in terms of opting out of tracking. So there’s a lot of uncertainty as to how it plays out.”
  • “The parade of data-privacy laws was largely prompted by Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, when the London-based political consulting firm acquired and used the personal data of up to 87 million Facebook users without their permission.”

The article then shifts to discussing how Prop 24 (also known as the California Privacy Rights Act or CPRA) could impact Facebook and other Big Tech firms even more in terms of adding pro-consumer protection regulations:

  • “If that doesn’t complicate the operations of Facebook and others, its successor on the November ballot, the California Privacy Rights Act of 2020, or CPRA, could make matters harder. It would grant consumers more control over what it calls “sensitive personal information” such as a person’s race, health, Social Security number and recent locations using GPS technology. If passed into law, consumers would have the right to prevent such data from being sold or used for advertising purposes.”
  • The article quotes a supporter of Prop 24, Consumer Watchdog:  “Under [CPRA], a consumer can limit the use of their sensitive information to stop Uber  from profiling them based on race, stop Spotify  from utilizing their precise geolocation and prevent Facebook from using their sexual orientation, health status or religion in its algorithms,” Carmen Balber, executive director of the nonprofit Consumer Watchdog, said in a statement.”

Prop 24 is Here to Help Californians

Clearly as the article shows, Prop 24 would add more regulation to firms that track us and collect our most personal information.   Opponents of Prop 24 are trying to fool you when they tell you Prop 24 is not pro-consumer and does not improve your privacy rights.

The reality is consumers need stronger protections. That’s why we’ve introduced Prop 24, the California Privacy Rights Act of 2020, to strengthen current privacy laws.

In addition to monitoring our kids, many corporations track us constantly, from gym to office to clinic; they know our friends, jobs, weight, where we eat and how fast we’re driving, our private searches and what we look at online. They also track and sell sensitive information like our race, sexual orientation, and religion.

We believe we should be in control of our own information and have the right to stop the use of our most sensitive personal information.

The reality is giant corporations make billions buying and selling our personal information—apps, phones, and cars sell your location constantly. The California Privacy Rights Act gives you the power to stop businesses tracking you precisely, like selling how many times you go to the gym or fast food restaurants to health insurers—without your knowledge or permission.

That’s why Prop 24 would enact the following:

  1. PROTECT YOUR MOST PERSONAL INFORMATION, by allowing you to prevent businesses from using or sharing sensitive information about your health, finances, race, ethnicity, and precise location;
  2. Safeguard young people, TRIPLING FINES for violations involving children’s information;
  3. Put new limits on companies’ collection and use of our personal information;
  4. Establish an enforcement arm—the California Privacy Protection Agency—to defend these rights and hold companies accountable, and extend enforcement including IMPOSING PENALTIES FOR NEGLIGENCE resulting in theft of consumers’ emails and passwords.
  5. MAKE IT MUCH HARDER TO WEAKEN PRIVACY in California in the future, by preventing special interests and politicians from undermining Californians’ privacy rights, while allowing the Legislature to amend the law to further the primary goal of strengthening consumer privacy to better protect you and your children, such as opt-in for use of data, further protections for uniquely vulnerable minors, and greater power for individuals to hold violators accountable.

In sum, California led the nation in enacting privacy rights, but big corporations are spending millions lobbying to weaken our laws. Instead, we need to make California privacy laws stronger. We need to safeguard our privacy protections and hold corporations accountable when they violate our fundamental rights.

Hence, we kindly ask that you consider voting Yes on Privacy and Voting Yes on Prop 24 to support the California Privacy Rights Act.