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Joint news release: Privacy groups praise CA legislators for upholding privacy law against industry pressure

SACRAMENTO – The California State Legislature will wrap up the first year of a two-year session tonight, leaving the landmark California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) largely intact despite a flurry of last-minute industry lobbying. The CCPA, which will go into effect in January, gives consumers important privacy rights, including the right to access, delete, and stop the sale of their information.

 

Lawmakers introduced a raft of industry-sponsored bills early in the year to gut the CCPA, but the worst bills ultimately failed to advance. Among the worst bills were SB 753, a targeted-advertising carveout; AB 873, which would have removed from the definition of “deidentified”—and thus consumer control—a large swath of personal information; and AB 1416, which would have improperly expanded carefully tailored exemptions for government and fraud-detection purposes.

 

Both houses of the legislature passed a package of unopposed bills to amend the CCPA—AB 25, 874, 1146, 1355, and 1564—which make relatively modest changes to the privacy law.

 

The bills will head to the governor for his signature.

 

Lawmakers also held the line against a last-minute wave of lobbying from industry groups such as the California Chamber of Commerce and the Internet Association, which sought to introduce amendments to exempt additional consumer information from the law.

 

Facing industry opposition, lawmakers did not advance AB 846, which would have limited the sale of information to third parties pursuant to customer loyalty and rewards programs. Though the bill was originally sponsored by the California Retailers’ Association, consumer-friendly amendments taken by the author in the Senate garnered industry opposition. Some consumer advocacy and privacy groups supported the final bill as an improvement over current law, and others took a neutral position.

 

“Industry tried and failed this session to weaken or eliminate the key protections of the CCPA. We applaud the legislature for holding the line against big technology companies, but the fight is not over,” said Kevin Baker, Legislative Director at the ACLU of Northern California. “Going forward, California must do everything possible to build on the CCPA and ensure that everyone has strong, enforceable privacy rights.”

 

“All eyes are on California when it comes to data privacy. California legislators did right by kids, families and consumers by keeping the law which goes into effect in 2020 largely intact,” said Jim Steyer, CEO of Common Sense. “We look forward to strengthening the law next year by focusing on robust protections, including limitations on first-party data use and ensuring sufficient regulatory supports are in place to protect consumers in the vast 21st century data economy.”

 

“We commend the California legislature for blocking cynical efforts to insert last-minute loopholes into the CCPA,” said Justin Brookman, Director of Privacy and Technology Policy at Consumer Reports. “We look forward to continuing to work with legislators in January to build upon this law to better serve California consumers.”

 

“This is a good day for California consumers,” said Hayley Tsukayama, Legislative Activist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “Industry groups failed to gut the CCPA. We thank the California legislature, and especially two leaders who tried this year to strengthen the CCPA: Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson and Assemblymember Buffy Wicks.”

 

Tracy Rosenberg of Media Alliance and Oakland Privacy commented: “Keeping the CA Consumer Privacy Act largely intact was a joint effort of privacy advocates and the Legislature. More than a dozen bills were proposed that would have weakened Californian’s privacy rights before they even went into effect. Thanks to the partnership of consumer advocates and CA’s state legislature, Californians will get to opt out of unwanted sales of their personal information in 2020.”

 

Emory Roane, policy counsel for Privacy Rights Clearinghouse commented: “We applaud the California legislature for recognizing the need—and demand—for strong consumer privacy protections.  Despite last minute efforts to weaken the landmark California Consumer Privacy Act, Californian residents can look forward to exercising their hard-fought right to control their personal information online.

 

CONTACTS:

 

Common Sense: Stephanie Ong, song@commonsense.org, (415) 786-5568

 

Consumer Reports: David Butler, dbutler@consumer.org or (202) 462-6262

 

Electronic Frontier Foundation: Hayley Tsukayama, hayleyt@eff.org or (415) 436-9333 x161