TechDirt: Verizon Quietly Drops Opposition to California Privacy Rules

May 7, 2018

Google, AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Facebook all breathlessly insist that they support consumer privacy. Several of them have even stated that they support new privacy legislation. But this collection of companies and one time adversaries have increasingly joined forced to try and stop any meaningful privacy protections from actually taking root. One such recent example is in California, where the companies recently lied to lawmakers in an effort to scuttle some fairly reasonable privacy safeguards being proposed in the state.

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With Facebook trying to improve its image in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the company recently stated it would be withdrawing from opposing California's privacy initiatives, the latest incarnation of which should show up on state ballots this November.

Hoping to make inroads with its own Oath advertising subsidiary (a combination of AOL and Yahoo), Verizon has quietly dropped its opposition to the California initiative as well. Verizon has been widely criticized for a repeated disregard for consumer privacy, most recently when it was fined for building a system that covertly modified wireless user packets to track users around the internet -- without telling them or providing working opt out tools.

"Though they’re extremely late to the party, we’re glad to see that Verizon is joining Facebook in dropping its opposition to the California Consumer Privacy Act, and we encourage the other major corporations still funding the anti-consumer Super PAC to stop opposing these common-sense reforms as well," said proposal backer Alastair Mactaggart. "It’s clear that these corporations are realizing that being anti-consumer and against basic privacy rights is bad for business."

"We’re sending them an endorsement card in the mail," Mactaggart added. "If they truly care about consumer privacy, we look forward to getting it back signed, sealed and delivered."

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