Proposition 24 has passed, the Associated Press reports.
It will expand current privacy laws, allowing consumers to prevent businesses from sharing personal information, correct inaccurate personal information, and limit businesses’ use of “sensitive personal information,” including precise geolocation, race, ethnicity, and health information.
It will establish the California Privacy Protection Agency and will increase annual state costs of at least $10 million, but unlikely exceeding low tens of millions of dollars, to enforce expanded consumer privacy laws. Some costs would be offset by penalties for violating these laws.
AP called the proposition at winner early Wednesday afternoon with a 56.09% “Yes” to 43.91% “No” vote, with 71.61% of precincts reporting.
The California Privacy Rights Act of 2020 would expand the rights Californians were given to their personal data in a groundbreaking law approved two years ago, which took effect in January. The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 was intended to give residents more control over their personal information collected online. It limited how companies gather personal data and make money from it and gave consumers the right to know what a company has collected and have it deleted, as well as the right to opt-out of the sale of their personal information.
But between the time the law was passed and took effect, major companies have found ways to dodge requirements. Tech and business lobbyists are pressuring the Legislature to water it down further, with proposals to undo parts of the law, says Alastair Mactaggart, a San Francisco real estate developer who spearheaded support for the 2018 law and is behind the effort to amend it.
The measure is supported by Common Sense Media and Consumer Watchdog, along with several privacy experts and labor organizations that say the measure will strengthen the law and protect it from industry attempts to dilute it.
The pro-24 campaign has raised over $5.5 million, most of it from Mactaggart.
The campaign to defeat the measure has raised just $50,000. Opponents say the 52-page initiative is so complicated that most voters won’t read it, or understand their rights if they do. Early voting begins Monday.
Opponents include groups like the California Small Business Association, a handful of local chambers of commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business, which say it’s too soon to rewrite the law. They say the measure would further burden small businesses still trying to comply with the new law. “And now Prop. 24 would upend all of that for an even more stringent, onerous law,” the NFIB said in a statement.
The ACLU of Northern California is also opposed, saying some updates would actually hurt consumers.
Proposition 24 would also create the California Privacy Protection Agency, with an annual budget of $10 million, to enforce the law and fine companies for violations.
Now, only the state attorney general can bring enforcement actions, but Attorney General Xavier Becerra has said his office has limited resources and could only bring a handful of cases each year.
It would also triple the fines on companies that violate kids’ privacy or illegally collect and sell their private information while closing some of the loopholes that proponents say companies such as Facebook, Google, and Spotify have exploited by saying they’re not selling personal information but “sharing” it with partners. Consumers could also opt out of data sharing and sales of private information about everything from their race and ethnicity to union membership or religion.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)