Verizon is following Facebook in dropping out of a coalition opposing a sweeping California ballot proposal aimed at enhancing privacy rights.
"Verizon has decided not to continue with the coalition so that we can focus our efforts on creating a national framework for privacy and related issues -- and not a state-by-state approach," a spokesman says.
The California Consumer Right to Privacy Act would give consumers the right to learn what personal information has been collected about them by companies. The proposed measure also gives consumers the right to prevent data about them from being shared. Backers have submitted 625,000 signatures in favor of placing the initiative on the ballot -- almost twice as many as needed.
The initiative's sweeping definition of personal information includes not only names, street addresses and email addresses, but also information that many marketers don't consider personally identifiable -- like IP addresses, device identifiers and web-browsing history. In addition, the measure would increase fines and penalties for businesses that fail to implement reasonable security to protect consumers' data.
Verizon and Facebook previously donated $200,000 to a coalition opposing the proposal. Google, Comcast and AT&T -- which are part of the coalition fighting the measure -- have also contributed $200,000 each to defeating it.
The opposition group, which calls itself the Committee to Protect California Jobs, is led by executives from the Silicon Valley lobbying group Internet Association, TechNet and the California Chamber of Commerce. Other organizations to join recently include the California New Car Dealers Association, the Software & Information Industry Association, and the Personal Insurance Federation of California.