California Passes New Strict Data Privacy Law

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California lawmakers on last Thursday unanimously passed a bill, titled as AB 375 or The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, which grants consumers to have control over their personal data collected by the businesses.

Jerry Brown, California Governor, signed the bill which was introduced last week by Ed Chau and Robert Hertzberg in order to counter the more privacy-centric ballot initiative, backed up by the Californians for Consumer Privacy. The group agreed to withhold it if the bill passed before the deadline of Thursday, which was done quickly on the last day, signed by Brown.

Companies which have data of more than 50,000 people will be affected by this law beginning in 2020. Under this bill, customers can request the data from the companies regarding the data collected and sold to other companies. Also, customers can request the data to be deleted and refrain from selling it to others.

While the bill sounds similar to the GDPR rules, there is a difference in one factor. The bill offers companies an option to charge slightly for those who have opted-out in their data to be sold to others. The amount charged would be based on the revenue company earns by selling a data. Moreover, the companies are prohibited from selling the data to other companies of the users below 16 years of age.

Since this bill is passed on the populous state of US, California, Alastair  MacTaggart, the person behind ballot initiative, expects the bill “leading the way in creating unprecedented consumer protections for the rest of the nation.” This bill will likely to affect the states apart from California, as it is “because of the hassle and expense of building state-by-state consumer”, according to Eric Goldman of Santa Clara University.

Companies like Google, The Internet Association which includes Facebook and Amazon, expressed dissatisfaction, with Google warning of the “unintended consequences” of the bill. Facebook supports the bill, but claims that the law is “not perfect”, and looking “forward to working with policymakers on an approach that protects consumers and promotes responsible innovation.”

Since the privacy bill is passed as legislation, it allows the lawmakers to modify the rules compared to a voter indorsed ballot initiative which would be difficult to alter. Such modifications in the rules have already been made, with a bill requiring the companies to disclose the category of bought data instead of sharing names and contact information.

So the companies like Facebook, Google and others can address their concerns regarding the bill before it comes to effect in 2020.

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