KPCC's AirTalk with Larry Mantle: "Proposed ballot initiative wants to protect your data"

May 15, 2018

The Cambridge Analytica scandal brought renewed scrutiny to how internet companies access, collect and use your data, as well as calls from consumer advocates for more stringent regulations.

One such call comes from a new proposed initiative, likely to appear on the November ballot: The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018. The initiative has three components: it gives consumers the right to ask companies for the data they’ve collected on them, it gives consumers the power to stop companies from selling or sharing the data with third parties for business reasons and it lets consumers the power to sue or fine a company that doesn’t comply.

Proponents say this would be a huge step towards protecting consumers from internet giants, but opponents, which include Google, AT&T and California’s Chamber of Commerce, have come out against the initiative. They say that it’s overly broad and that it jeopardizes the economic model that sustains the internet, and will in turn slow down California’s tech sector and endanger jobs. The opposition campaign is called “The Committee to Protect California Jobs.”

Facebook was initially a funder of this Committee, but withdrew support in April, after Mark Zuckerberg’s Congressional testimony.

Is this a much needed check on largely unregulated internet companies? Or would this initiative unnecessarily sandbag the tech sector which has contributed to California’s booming economy? And how will having these California-specific regulations affect the national landscape?

Ready for Election Day? Get up to speed on what you need to know with KPCC’sVoter Game Plan. Read up on the candidates and ballot measures, find out about registration deadlines and ask us your questions.


Rick Arney, co-author of the California Consumer Privacy Act

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