Prop 24 passes, paving way for California data privacy agency

4 Nov 2020158 Views

San Francisco. Image: © archjeff/Stock.adobe.com

Proposition 24 has passed in California, which will expand the state’s Consumer Privacy Act and lead to the creation of a new state agency.

A landmark measure has been passed in California that will ensure privacy regulation is enforced in the state. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Proposition 24 was passed with 56.1pc of the vote and will result in a number of new measures being introduced.

This includes prohibiting legislators from any attempts at weakening the California Consumer Privacy Act, creating a new state agency to enforce various privacy protections, and giving people greater control over how companies use their personal information.

The California Consumer Privacy Act passed in 2018 and came into law in July of this year. Its introduction was spearheaded by Alastair Mactaggart, a real-estate mogul and privacy campaigner, to give people the right to ask that their data not be sold and that it be deleted on request.

Prop 24 was proposed to enshrine and expand the act. Mactaggart and his wife Celine set up a group to campaign for a yes vote and spent more than $6.2m on lobbying.

“We are at the beginning of a journey that will profoundly shape the fabric of our society by redefining who is in control of our most personal information and putting consumers back in charge of their own data,” Mactaggart said today (4 November) after the results were announced.

Mixed response

Prop 24 was opposed by groups including the California Consumer Federation and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California. Opponents raised just over $48,000 for their campaign.

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Those against the measure argued that it was poorly constructed and could make it more difficult for people with low incomes to take control of their data privacy. It was described as a ‘pay for privacy’ provision, where those opting not to share their data with tech companies may have pay more to access services.

Privacy advocate, Cambridge Analytica whistleblower and recent Future Human speaker, Brittany Kaiser, was among those who endorsed a yes vote for Prop 24. Speaking last month, she said it would be the “strongest, most effective privacy legislation ever passed” in the US.

“Enforcing privacy as a human right sounds good in practice, but it’s proving to be almost impossible in reality, as we have had the human right to privacy for decades with little enforcement,” she said.

“Giving consumers the right to own their data allows us to not only enforce property rights to have legal recourse for data abuse and privacy violations, but also gives us the revolutionary opportunity to harness our own value and earn enough to protect our basic rights through the data we produce everyday.”

Speaking as part of a Q&A session at Future Human last week, Kaiser that the creation of a California state agency responsible for helping companies to protect user data was “incredibly exciting”. You can check out the rest of her conversation on Prop 24 below.

Colm Gorey is a senior journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

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