California has passed one of the toughest online privacy bills in the country in spite of lobbying by large corporations such as Facebook and Google to try and defeat it. According to a news report on Slate.com, if signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, the bill titled the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, will require tech companies that collect user information to disclose the type of data they collect, information about advertisers or third parties with which they share data, and allow consumers to opt out of having the data collected about them from being sold.
What This Law Means to Consumers
In addition, the bill gives consumers the option to request companies to delete personal information collected on them such as their buying habits, location, number of children and other data, which is not easily available publicly. Companies that do sell such information to third parties must offer the new privacy option at no cost to consumers and will not be allowed to degrade a service if the consumer chooses not to have their information sold.
Another important aspect of this new measure is that it is actually enforceable. If companies fail to protect their users’ data, the state attorney general is allowed to sue the corporations. Consumers can also hold these corporations accountable by filing a class action lawsuit. This means that if there is a data breach, such as the one that occurred with Equifax last year, the attorney could investigation and customers can bring a class action lawsuit.
Holding Corporations Accountable
As California consumer attorneys, we absolutely welcome this new law. As California goes, so does the rest of the nation. In this case, if that does happen, California would have done a tremendous service to consumers around the country by holding tech companies accountable and giving consumers the right to file class action lawsuits, should they become necessary. We hope this law helps make consumers data much safer and give all of us the power to choose who gets our precious personal data.