California’s Internet Privacy Law Strictest Yet

By:  |  Category: Blog, Security Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018  |  No Comments
internet privacy law

What some are now calling the “California Effect is changing the landscape of the internet.

Passed and signed by the governor in a speedy Sacramento blur, California’s new internet privacy law, the strictest so far in the United States, is shaking up tech and social media.

The new law bestows upon residents the right to know what data is collected by companies like Google and Facebook and to demand that their information not be sold to third parties. Consumers can also demand that their info be deleted and have the right to sue companies for breaking the rules. The law goes into effect in 2020.

“The natural response to this law from companies will be to have users consent for their data to be shared in return for discounts,” said Karthik Kannan, the Thomas Howatt Chaired Professor in Management at Purdue University and an expert in data analytics. “Because we are dealing with information, there are still some open-ended issues. If a user changes their mind and does not want discounts anymore, what happens to his or her past information that was sold?”

The legislation likely will set a precedent for data collection and information security across the U.S., as well as the world, said Kannan, who studies how companies can leverage big data while balancing privacy concerns.

“Companies such as Google and Facebook are unlikely to retain a separate set of policies for customers in California versus the rest of the country,” he said. “The U.S. as a whole might start seeing improvements in data protection reminiscent of the fuel emission standards California imposed in the past. Because they were the tightest in the nation, it led to auto companies producing fuel efficient cars for everyone. In similar regards, this law could be hugely influential.”

Immediate Reaction

Although the legislature moved decisively and quickly, not everyone shares their rush to lock down privacy laws. According to the The Wall Street Journal, many businesses are frustrated by the new regulations.

David French of the National Retail Federation told the Journal, “the consumer will actually be the big loser” because the law could lead to the end of VIP and customer loyalty programs.

Other groups were skeptical of the rush of the lawmakers to consider and pass the bill.

“This measure was hastily drafted and needs to be fixed,” the ACLU’s Nicole Ozer said in a statement. “Effective privacy protections must be included that actually protect against rampant misuse of personal information, make sure that companies cannot retaliate against Californians who exercise their privacy rights, and ensure that Californians can actually enforce their personal privacy rights.”

The Internet Association, which represents tech giants like Microsoft, Google and Netflix, released a statement suggesting the new law was a “far-reaching bill.”

“It is critical going forward that policymakers work to correct the inevitable, negative policy and compliance ramifications this last-minute deal will create for California’s consumers and businesses alike.”

On social media, the reaction was mixed. Some are thrilled the state moved quickly while others suggest it went too far.

Supporters are hopeful other states will quickly follow suit.

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