Legislators Introduce Comprehensive Consumer Privacy Legislation
Alastair Mactaggart agrees to pull California Consumer Privacy Act upon passage of bill by Sens. Bob Hertzberg & Bill Dodd, and Asm. Ed Chau
SACRAMENTO – Today, Senator Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) and Assemblymember Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park) introduced legislation to address concerns surrounding privacy and data breaches experienced by California consumers. The bill will also be authored by Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa), who has been working this year on his own legislation to protect consumers from data breaches.
Recent data breaches that affected millions – those experienced by Target, Equifax, Cambridge Analytica, and many more – have raised concerns from Internet users around the world. The continued prevalence of such occurrences and uncertainty about what data is being collected has drawn the ire of consumer and public interest groups, while the threat of restrictive regulation worries tech companies, many of which are headquartered in and employ thousands of individuals in California.
In light of these concerns, Senator Hertzberg and Assemblymember Chau introduced legislation to expand the rights of consumers to know what data is being collected about them online, and even to delete it. The bill, which is now in print in the form of amendments to AB 375, would also empower consumers to decline the sale of their information and report violations, which must then be addressed by the violator or risk civil action. These data breach protections incorporate provisions from Senator Dodd’s SB 1121.
“The idea that a person should have some say about how their personal information can be used, shared or sold is not a controversial question for everyday consumers – it is common sense,” said Assemblymember Ed Chau, who is Chair of the Assembly Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection. “In fact, it is consistent with the right of privacy enshrined in our constitution, and we as Legislators have an obligation to ensure privacy rights for online consumers. The agreement reached with the initiative proponents to move forward with a legislative solution is a significant step in providing California consumers more control over their data.”
“This is a 21st century crisis that deserves a 21st century solution,” said Senator Hertzberg. “We listened to every stakeholder at the table, including proponents of the privacy initiative on the ballot, to come to a legislative agreement that protects consumers at a level unseen by any current California law.”
“This is a solid step toward empowering consumers, ensuring they have control over their data and are informed about how it is being used,” said Senator Dodd. “It gives them recourse in the event of future breaches and provides a strong incentive for firms to act responsibly.”
AB 375 is substantially similar to the circulating ballot initiative on the same subject championed by Alastair Mactaggart, who has agreed to pull his initiative if AB 375 passes by the June 28 deadline. In fact, in some of its provisions, AB 375 would give more privacy protection to consumers than the ballot initiative would.
“This legislation, like the initiative, would provide simple, powerful rights to Californians: tell me what you know about me. Stop selling it. Keep it safe,” said Alastair Mactaggart. “If the bill passes before next week’s deadline to withdraw, we will withdraw our initiative. If it doesn’t, we will proceed to the November election. We are content either way, as we feel that both the legislative solution, and our initiative, provide tremendously increased privacy rights to Californians.”
In addition to the support of Mactaggart, the bill is sponsored by Common Sense Media, a privacy rights organization focused on children and families.
“When kids are online or on social media, it is absolutely vital that we ensure their privacy is protected,” said James P. Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense, which has long supported increased privacy rights for students and families, and was a sponsor of SOPIPA, which protects the privacy rights of students in California. “This is a critical first step in ensuring the privacy of kids, families, and all consumers and we’ll continue to fight to ensure there are strong data privacy regulations in place to protect Californians and all Americans.”
AB 375 is eligible to be heard on the Senate Floor on June 25. If it passes the Senate, it will head to the Assembly on June 28, the same day by which initiative backers must decide to pull a measure from the ballot. The bill has the support of legislative leaders of both houses:
“In the modern world of technology, our fundamental right to privacy depends on the ability of all consumers to protect their own sensitive personal information online,” said Senate President Pro Tem Toni G. Atkins. “Thanks to the extraordinary work of great leaders like our own Senator Hertzberg, the Legislature will have a proposal before us that would make California a global leader in online privacy, just as we lead the world in technological innovation. I applaud the hard work of Senators Hertzberg and Dodd and Assemblymember Ed Chau, and I look forward to deliberating this landmark legislation.”
“Privacy rights are among the most important consumer protection issues we face,” said Speaker Anthony Rendon. “This legislation, which has earned the support of the proponents of the California Consumer Privacy Act, strengthens protections for California consumers while avoiding the risks inherent in a high-stakes ballot initiative. I thank Assemblymember Ed Chau for his hard work with the Senate, the initiative proponents, and other stakeholders to reach this point. I encourage every Californian concerned about this issue to review the legislation as it makes its way through the process, and to share their views with their legislators.”
Media Contact: Katie Hanzlik
Senator Robert M. Hertzberg
Capitol Building, Room 4038