California Expected To Vote On New Data Privacy Law

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This November, voters in California are expected to decide whether to adopt new online privacy requirements. Californians for Consumer Privacy, formed by Alastair Mactaggart, a California real estate developer who has donated over $2 million to research and develop the ballot initiative, is leading the effort to provide “important new consumer privacy rights to take back control of your personal information.”  Mary Stone Ross, former CIA analyst and counsel for the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, along with Rick Arney, a financial industry executive with experience working as a staffer in the California state legislature, are co-directors of the ballot campaign “to address a world where a small number of mega-corporations have access to almost all of your most personal information.” 

Californians for Consumer Privacy promotes the Consumer Right to Privacy Act of 2018 as a means to restore transparency, control, and accountability to individuals’ personal information. The measure would require businesses, upon request by a consumer, to disclose what specific personal information is being collected, sold, or disclosed, as well as to whom. Consumers could opt out of having their data sold to third parties. If approved, the new law would require businesses to post a “clear and conspicuous link on the business's homepage, titled ‘Do Not Sell My Personal Information,’ to a webpage that enables a consumer, or a person authorized by the consumer, to opt out of the sale of the consumer's personal information.”  Businesses would be prohibited from discriminating against consumers who either request disclosure of how personal information is being used or opt out of having their data sold. The new law would impose civil penalties, and consumers, public entities, and whistleblowers could sue for security breaches. A portion of recoveries would be deposited to a newly established state Consumer Privacy Fund, which would “be used exclusively to offset any costs incurred by the state courts and the Attorney General in connection with this Act.” 

The Consumer Right to Privacy Act of 2018 is currently pending signature verification by the California Secretary of State. California requires 365,880 valid signatures to qualify an initiative, and over 600,000 signatures for this measure have been submitted.

The text of the Consumer Right to Privacy Act of 2018 can be found here.

The California Secretary of State tracking for initiative and referendum status can be found here.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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