Bracing for sweeping new data privacy law
As brands race to comply with CCPA, more changes loom with a potentially stricter law, courtesy of California real estate developer and consumer privacy advocate Alastair Mactaggart.
Mactaggart, whose efforts helped spur lawmakers to pass CCPA, is now looking to replace it because he says the law has become watered down as a result of lobbying by industry trade groups.
“In the two years since introducing the legislation that passed CCPA, which gives nearly 40 million people in this state the strongest data privacy rights in the country, I’ve realized the immense power consumers are up against when it comes to having true control over their own data,” Mactaggart stated in a letter posted on the website of his group, Californians for Consumer Privacy. “During this time, two things have happened: First, some of the world’s largest companies have actively and explicitly prioritized weakening the CCPA. Second, technological tools have evolved in ways that exploit a consumer’s data with potentially dangerous consequences. I believe using a consumer’s data in these ways is not only immoral, but it also threatens our democracy.”
Mactaggart made his intentions known last month at the International Association of Privacy Professionals conference in Las Vegas, pledging to spend his own money for a signature drive to get an initiative on the 2020 ballot. He pursued a data privacy ballot initiative a couple of years ago, but withdrew it after negotiating with lawmakers, allowing them to create their own bill, which ultimately became CCPA.
Mactaggart’s new proposal, dubbed “California Privacy Rights and Enforcement Act,” or CPREA, would require an opt-in for collecting data on anyone under the age of 16, while also tripling fines for companies found in violation. It would also require corporations to disclose whether, and how, they use personal information to influence elections, and create new rights around the use and sale of sensitive personal information, including health and financial data, racial or ethnic origin and precise geolocation.
If enacted, the initiative would require a two-thirds majority vote from legislators should they decide to weaken it, while requiring only a simple majority vote to strengthen it. In his letter, Mactaggart says without privacy regulation, companies will “distort the balance of power in society.”