Foreign Policy Magazine's 2019 Global Thinkers: Alastair Mactaggart

January 22, 2019

While Congress has stalled on new privacy bills, a real estate developer is pushing for broader data rights in the Golden State.

Each week, we review the week’s news, offering analysis about the most important developments in the tech industry.

Greetings from New York Times HQ in Midtown Manhattan. I’m Natasha Singer, a tech reporter covering privacy, and I’m bringing you the week’s tech news.

While many eyes were focused on the impeachment saga playing out in Washington, one person in San Francisco was taking on the entire tech industry. Again.

In 2017, Alastair Mactaggart, a wealthy real estate developer, founded and started financing a push for data rights for Californians. The effort led California lawmakers to enact the nation’s most comprehensive state consumer privacy law last year. Ever since then, tech companies and industry groups have maneuvered to water down its consumer protections.

Now Mr. Mactaggart is back with a new campaign.

He’s starting a ballot initiative that would amend the new law, the California Consumer Privacy Act, which takes effect on Jan. 1. He wants broader data control rights for Californians and new requirements on companies.

Among other things, his amendments would triple the law’s fines for violations of children’s privacy.


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