The state of California passed a new digital privacy law that provides consumers with more transparency and control over their digital data.
According to a report in The New York Times, the state now has one of the strictest laws regarding digital privacy, with consumers now having the right to know what information companies are collecting, why they are doing that and who they are sharing it with. Customers can also tell companies to get rid of information on them and to not share their data with third parties. Businesses are required to provide the same level of service even if customers opt out of sharing their data with the company. Companies will also have a tougher time sharing and/or selling data on children under the age of 16, noted the report. The New York Times noted the bill faced no opposition and was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown with just hours before the deadline for another bill that is even stricter to be added to the November ballot. If the law didn’t pass, the backers of the ballot proposal would have brought it to voters in November.
While technology and businesses in California weren't in support of the bill, they didn’t attempt to prevent it because the ballot initiative was even tougher, noted The New York Times. Legislators that voted for the bill told the paper that there wasn’t much in the way of choice because the ballot initiative was less flexible in the ability to make changes to it in the future. The NYT noted that Google, Facebook, Verizon, Comcast and AT&T each invested $200,000 into a group that opposed the ballot measure. Lobbyists said the companies would have spent $100 million to fight it ahead of the November election, noted the report. The Internet Association trade group that counts Google, Facebook and Amazon reacted to the law with Robert Callahan, a vice president of state government affairs, telling the paper that the new law has many “problematic provisions.” But “it prevents the even worse ballot initiative from becoming law in California.” He said the trade group will "wok to correct the inevitable, negative policy and compliance ramifications this last-minute deal will create,” reported the NYT. Meanwhile, some privacy advocates complained the bill didn’t do enough.