If privacy is an issue that has started to cause you concern, you are not alone. In Oakland, California, a trio of concerned citizens has decided not to sit back and wait for the technology industry to figure out how to safeguard personal information. Instead, they have worked to put an initiative – The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 – on the ballot. If it passes, it will boost consumer privacy and allow customers to mandate that their personal data is not bought and sold by a slew of companies. After getting more than double the number of signatures required to put the issue on the November ballot, organizers are hopeful that Californians will vote for greater consumer protections.
Goals of the Initiative
The primary goal of the privacy act is to empower consumers to delve into the powers that businesses have to collect data about them. Many people simply are unaware of the information companies obtain from their devices. If the initiative passes, consumers will be able to ask businesses about the categories of private information they have gathered. Furthermore, when personal information is disclosed to other businesses, the consumer will have to be notified as to the categories of information that have been shared and with whom it was shared. Most importantly, consumers will be able to opt out of information sharing altogether.
What Information is Currently Being Collected?
It is not a good time to be naive about personal information that is for sale. Currently, businesses buy and sell vast amounts of data about consumers, including:
- Internet searches are done in the privacy of your home;
- Store purchases made by consumers;
- Addresses located on contracts for cable service;
- Cell phone locations.
The collection of this, and other data, us used by all kinds of businesses to profile consumers, track demographics and trends in the market, and target advertising.
How Will Consumer Control Work?
If the initiative passes, businesses will be required to have a link on all web pages that is prominently displayed, saying. Do Not Sell My Personal Information. The link would direct customers to a page allowing them to opt out of having personal information shared or sold to third parties.
Companies would still be able to collect data and use it to target consumers with advertising, but they could not share it. Customers would have a right to know precisely what categories of information companies collect on them.
Impacts on Business
While privacy experts contend the measure does not go far enough, businesses believe the measure will have a devastating impact on profits. It ranks as one of the nation’s strongest privacy initiatives, and will likely have implications that reach outside of California. The reason is that companies will have to either figure out which IP addresses originate in California and provide the necessary modifications to their web pages or just make whole-scale changes that are available to all internet users. The only other option is to avoid doing business in California altogether. Considering California’s economy is the fifth largest in the world, organizers are not worried about that.
Answers to Your Business Questions
If you have questions or concerns related to business operations in California, the experienced legal team at HKM can help. Contact us in Los Angeles for a confidential consultation today.