CalMatters: Californians may get to vote on expanded privacy rights

September 24, 2019

The San Francisco advocate who spearheaded California’s landmark law protecting the privacy of consumers’ online data is planning to propose a new initiative on Wednesday to create and enforce a data privacy bill of rights.

It’s not clear all privacy advocates will be on board with Alastair Mactaggart, a developer who, alarmed at the diminution of privacy in this digital age, proposed a far-reaching initiative in 2018, only to abandon it when the Legislature approved the California Consumer Privacy Act, which takes effect Jan. 1.

Privacy advocates such as the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation did not support Mactaggart’s proposal last year, and that organization was not consulted in the crafting of this new ballot measure.

However Mactaggart says the new initiative, an expanded version of that law, is necessary to buttress existing protections. “The power of the industry is extraordinary,” he said in an interview with CalMatters. “They just keep coming.”

The new measure would be on the November 2020 ballot as a 51-page state constitutional amendment known as the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2020.

“The world has changed so much and so fast in the last two years,” Mactaggart said. “Now it is the time to push for even more rights for privacy.”

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