Privacy protections at play in Sacramento

Privacy protections at play in Sacramento

Posted August 29th, 2018 by seanm

Access Humboldt joined with more than a dozen consumer advocacy and public interest groups to protect privacy regulations adopted by the California Legislature earlier this year as AB 375 the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

SB 1121 is currently under consideration to make technical revisions to CCPA. An agreement to consider technical revisions to CCPA is at risk of being derailed by private industry efforts to weaken consumer privacy protections already adopted. So, Access Humboldt joined a letter to the authors of CCPA asking that they look to "strengthen, not weaken, the law."

The full letter is attached:

August 28, 2018
Dear AB 375 Authors Chau, Dodd, and Hertzberg:
The consumer and privacy groups joining this letter thank the California State Legislature for its
attention to consumer privacy, which is of primary importance in this era of mass data collection.
California recently gained national attention when it passed the California Consumer Privacy
Act (CCPA), which was designed to give consumers transparency and control over their own
data.

The legislature is currently considering SB 1121, a bill to address technical errors that were
inadvertently included in the CCPA. In recent days, proposed language for SB 1121 was
circulated that would explicitly carve out the selling, sharing, or communication of data to other
companies for the purposes of delivering, showing, measuring, or auditing online
advertisements. While not taken up in SB 1121, these changes would drastically curtail
consumer privacy and undermine the intent of the CCPA and should not be considered by the
legislature.

This language would undermine a principal purpose of the CCPA, which is to “authorize a
consumer to opt out of the sale of personal information by a business.” If this provision is added,
companies would gain a new exception for auditing and measuring online ads that would allow
hundreds of companies to amass huge data stores on consumers. These practices would be
exempted from CCPA protections such as consumers’ right to know the information collected
about them and their right to stop its sale and sharing with third parties. In addition, it would
sanction the practices implicated in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which detailed
information about consumers’ Facebook “likes,” their social networks, and online behavior was
collected, shared, and ultimately sold, without the consumers’ consent and knowledge, to third
parties. This data was used to create voter profiles and to better target online ads to influence
citizens’ voter behavior.

Some have framed this as an effort to put limits on the sharing of consumer data and to restrict it
to information that has been de-identified and aggregated. That is misleading. Versions of this
provision have attempted to apply it only to information that has been de-identified and
aggregated, but there is no such thing as anonymous data. Google and Facebook can connect
consumers’ names to their activity online and across devices, and sell that information to
advertisers.

This provision would weaken the CCPA and make it more difficult to address these practices in
future legislation. Our coalition of privacy organizations strongly oppose stripping consumers of
their protections, and you should, too.

We look forward to working with the legislature in the next session to protect the CCPA from
industry efforts to erode it. The CCPA is a first step in ensuring privacy rights for Californians
but it is by no means fully protective of its citizens. Any further changes to the law should be to
strengthen, not weaken, the law.

Sincerely,
ACLU of California
Access Humboldt
CalPIRG
Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood
Center for Digital Democracy
Color of Change
Common Sense Kids Action
Consumer Action
Consumer Federation of America
Consumer Federation of California
Consumer Watchdog
Consumers Union
Digital Privacy Alliance
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Media Alliance
Oakland Privacy
Public Knowledge
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
World Privacy Forum
Cc: Pro Tem Toni Atkins; Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon
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For more information, contact Sean Taketa McLaughlin e: sean@accesshumboldt.net

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Access Humboldt is a non-profit, community media & broadband access organization serving the residents and local jurisdictions of Humboldt County on the North Coast of California USA, managing resources that include: cable access TV channels; KZZH FM 96.7 community radio; a wide area broadband network with dedicated optic fiber connections to twenty locations serving local jurisdictions and community anchor institutions; broadband access wireless networks; a Community Media Center with studio and other production equipment and training on the Eureka High School campus; and ongoing operational support for public, educational and governmental access media services.

AccessHumboldt.net

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SB 1121_Coalition_8.28.18 .pdf64.04 KB