Fact vs. Fiction
Prop 24’s opponents will say anything in their efforts to keep a stronger privacy law from taking effect, often by claiming the exact opposite of what it does. Let’s look at their Fiction and compare them to the Facts:
“It will promote digital redlining, hurting poorer communities and communities of color.”
The Facts: Prop 24 will give consumers unprecedented rights to protect themselves from corporations targeting them based on their race, ethnicity, where they live or who they spend time with.
- Right now, California prohibits companies from selling your data, but they can still find and use almost anything about you. Prop 24 makes it clear that your information is off limits. It allows Californians to stop Big Tech from profiling them, giving them the power to stop algorithms from advertising to you based only on your race, health status, and work history, among other things. It also stops Big Tech using your precise geolocation.
- Prop 24 makes it easier to protect yourself from Big Tech.
“It will force poor people to ‘pay for privacy,’ so only the rich will be able to afford privacy.”
The Facts: Prop 24 supports news organizations, music streaming, and others that rely on paid subscriptions and advertising to provide services to the public. Prop 24 allows consumers to continue to receive these services, often at no cost. Importantly, Prop 24 limits how personal information can be used by these companies even after consumers select their services.
- How? Well, it’s because newspapers show ads (and in some cases charge a subscription). If a consumer has an ad-blocker (which prevents personal information from being sent to advertisers), and if the newspaper’s business model depends on revenue from advertising, then allowing consumers to opt out of the sale of their information, without a fee, or without altering service levels (i.e. by blocking access to the paper), could bankrupt the paper. That’s partly why this provision exists, so that CCPA wouldn’t harm publications dependent on advertising.
- Or take music streaming: lots of consumers prefer to listen to ads, rather than pay a monthly subscription fee. But when they are listening to ads, their personal information is being sold, under the CCPA definition. Many consumers like this option, and yet the opposition’s hard line on ‘pay for privacy’ would forbid this business model, which we think isn’t the right answer for consumers.
- Importantly, what the opposition is complaining about is current California law. Prop 24 makes no changes of any substance to this section. Because an initiative like this has to reenact the whole law, both the parts that remain unchanged and the amendments and additions to the law are all included in the text of the initiative. The opposition is waving their arms around this provision, but it’s one of the sections of the existing law prop 24 does not change. This is, indeed, much ado about nothing.
“It hurts workers, because it stops them organizing into unions.”
The Facts: Many of California’s leading labor organizations helped draft Prop 24. The California Professional Firefighters, the State Building & Construction Trades Council, and AFSCME, and other unions support Prop 24.
- Prop 24 would make it easier for workers to organize by protecting their sensitive personal information, including union membership. No more tracking union organizers, firing activists, or interfering with the right to organize and collective bargaining.
- Prop 24 forbids retaliation against “an employee, applicant for employment, or independent contractor” for exercising their privacy rights, unlike existing law.
- We met with unions and employee advocates across the State to get their input on how to best protect their interests. We took their language and put it directly into the proposition.
“It allows businesses to use facial recognition to surveil Californians.”
The Facts: ‘facial recognition’ is prohibited under Prop 24.
- This is patently false: your face and “faceprint” are included in the definition of sensitive information. Prop 24 gives you the absolute right to stop any of your biometric data ever being used by any businesses.
“It’s too long and complicated.”
The Facts: the same people who are opposing Prop 24 as too long and complicated, are supporting other long measures.
- Simply put: privacy is too important to cut corners. Prop 24 is comprehensive. Prop 24 keeps Big Tech from exploiting loopholes.
- In fact, many other propositions on November’s ballot are just as long: Prop 14 is 35 pages, Prop 20 is 18 pages and Prop 25 is 21 pages.
- Ironically, opponents supported the equally lengthy “Privacy for All Act” that died in committee in the State Assembly in early 2019.
“It increases the burden on consumers to opt-out of the sale of their information.”
The Facts: Prop 24 makes it easier for consumers to tell businesses “do not sell my personal information.”
- Just as with existing law, Prop 24 requires businesses to honor consumer’s electronic instructions, whether it’s a global opt-out setting on their phone, or their browser, or via an app they have installed to manage their privacy. Prop 24 requires business to honor a consumer’s instructions in just the same way as the existing law (California Consumer Privacy Act) does.
- Prop 24 further expands these requirements by also permitting consumers to tell businesses they do not want them to use their sensitive personal information, also by an automatic signal sent by the consumer’s phone or browser.
- Prop 24 understands that if consumers are required to do a lot of work on each site to protect their privacy, Big Tech will win. Prop 24 guarantees that all consumers always have the right to send their opt-out instructions electronically, without having to change their settings. Our motto is: “set it and forget it.” Protecting your privacy shouldn’t be hard.
“It eliminates protections for Californians when they leave the state.”
The Facts: California cannot regulate other states, just as they cannot regulate us.
- The United States Constitution forbids one state from regulating commerce in another state. This is called the dormant commerce clause. The relevant section of CPRA has two components. The first is if a California consumer is in, say, New York City, and her data is collected there by a company with no California presence, and the data is never stored in and never touches California. In this case, California cannot regulate the activity. The other scenario is if a California consumer records data in California, say on a wearable device, which is then uploaded out of state (say to the cloud). California cannot forbid the uploading of that data out of state, as that is an activity occurring outside of California.
- However, as the data was generated in California, that data is wholly protected by CPRA, and all of a consumer’s rights with respect to that data are alive and well.
- The opposition’s complaint is baseless. Lacking any substantial reason to criticize prop 24 this is one more invention designed to scare voters. Ask yourself: how likely is it that the group that put the first ballot measure together in 2018, resulting in the passage of California’s existing privacy law, would now seek to weaken it by some nefarious sleight-of-hand?
“It exposes undocumented immigrants to increase risk of harassment by ICE.”
The Facts: Prop 24 does far more than the current California law (California Consumer Privacy Act or CCPA) to protect undocumented immigrants.
- Nothing in Prop 24 exposes immigrants or increases the risk of harassment by ICE. Right now, undocumented immigrants have no rights to restrict the use of their sensitive information: businesses can use whatever information they collect about you for their own purposes.
- Prop 24 allows consumers to stop the use of their race, ethnicity, and precise geolocation, offering undocumented immigrants unprecedented control over their information.
- Prop 24 also makes it clear that if the law must go further to protect all Californians, then the Legislature can expand protected categories of personal information.
“It allows for a new form of digital redlining, hurting minority homeownership.”
The Facts: Prop 24 would accomplish the exact opposite, allowing consumers greater ability to stop redlining than any consumer privacy law ever passed in this country.
- Prop 24 makes it clear that your sensitive information, including race, ethnicity and geolocation are off-limits to businesses, whenever you decide.
- Right now, businesses do things such as calculating creditworthiness based on your arrival time at work, weight gain or if you visited the doctor. Based on your geolocation businesses know if others in your vicinity have a criminal history or are in rehab.
- Prop 24 ensures that this information cannot be used unless you allow it. Therefore, Prop 24 defends against digital redlining.
“It weakens existing law.”
The Facts: Prop 24 creates new protections, increases penalties, and updates current law.
- Prop 24 includes important new rights, like the requirement that businesses can’t use information for any purpose other than the one they told you they were collecting it for, that they can’t store data longer than they tell you, and that they can’t collect more data than they need to do the job they say they’re doing. See this blog post for the top 20 ways that Prop 24 expands California privacy rights.
- Prop 24 triples fines for violations of children’s information.
- Prop 24 creates a privacy protection agency with twice as many staff as are currently enforcing privacy law in California and allows all 58 counties and the four biggest cities in the state to enforce this law, which current law does not allow.
- But don’t take our word for it, independent analysis from the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) says Prop 24 “would create a much broader set of privacy rights and obligations than the CCPA” and even provided a top 10 impactful assessment of Prop 24. Or check out this technologist’s blog on the 12 ways Prop 24 enhances privacy compared to existing law. Point is people can point to 10, 12 and even 20 ways how Prop 24 strengthens existing law.
“no large corporations are opposed to it, so therefore Big Tech approves it”
The Facts: Data brokers, Internet advertisers and the trade association representing the largest Internet companies in the world opposed Prop 24.
- The Internet Association, which represents dozens of companies including Facebook, Google and Amazon, testified against Prop 24 during a legislative hearing this summer.
- The Association of National Advertisers and the Interactive Advertising Bureau oppose Prop 24.
- Facebook’s Chief Financial Officer acknowledged that Prop 24 would impose new restrictions on the company and could limit earnings.
- The Washington Post reported Acxiom, one of the world’s largest data brokers, opposes Prop 24.
You get the idea. The opposition to Prop 24 is throwing any mud they can throw at you to confuse you. Don’t be confused by the fiction. The facts are Prop 24 safeguards our kids’ online privacy, reduces the threat of Identity theft and gives us the important privacy rights that we need to take back control over our personal data.
Vote Yes on Privacy and Vote Yes on Prop 24!