New York Times: Silicon Valley Faces Regulatory Fight on Its Home Turf

May 13, 2018

OAKLAND, Calif. — The staging ground for one of the biggest regulatory fights facing the technology industry is far removed from Washington or Brussels, tucked into an alley next to a wine and cheese shop about 30 miles from Silicon Valley.

A barely furnished real estate office in an upscale Oakland neighborhood is the headquarters for backers of a proposed California ballot measure that would provide consumers with increased privacy rights, including the ability to demand that companies do not sell their personal data.

If the initiative, called The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, passes, privacy advocates say it will be one of the most meaningful checks in the United States on the growing power of internet behemoths.

The proposed ballot measure is the passion project of an unlikely trio: a real estate developer, a former Central Intelligence Agency analyst and a financial industry executive. They say they have no political aspirations. They’re not techies and they aren’t your run-of-the-mill privacy zealots. Instead, they say they are like many internet consumers — a little freaked out about tech firms gobbling up people’s personal data.

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