Internet Privacy and Protection
Our state is home to Silicon Valley, but Californians for years lacked adequate internet privacy and data theft protections. That will change thanks to a new data protection law – but it’s under attack by the tech industry.

As technology and innovation produces new and exciting tools for consumers, it also provides new opportunities for online thieves. Consumers care about the harm that occurs when their personal data is leaked or stolen. Identity theft, financial crime and even fear for their own physical safety (e.g., for victims of domestic violence) are top concerns when personal data – including personally identifying information – is no longer safe. The harm is real.

Current law requires that businesses take measures to protect our information and provide notification of a breach. While some businesses follow the necessary protective steps, many others do not, as evidenced by the many breaches we see today. The biggest data breaches of the 21st century include some of America’s biggest corporate names like Marriott, Facebook, Equifax, Uber, Anthem, eBay, JP Morgan Chase, Home Depot, Yahoo, Target, Adobe and Sony, just to name a few. These data breaches are often the result of failure by corporations to invest in data security. Even when they know of holes in their data protections, few businesses bother to make correction because they have historically been let off the hook and are not held accountable for big breaches.

By updating the California data breach laws, there will finally be an incentive for companies to take reasonable security measures to protect consumer data. The California Consumer Privacy Act, which went into effect in 2020, provides a legal remedy when a data breach occurs. This is essential to put the onus on big businesses to protect the data they collect and profit from.

The California Consumer Privacy Act is the strongest privacy law in the nation. The law ensures:

  • The right of Californians to know what personal information is being collected about them.
  • The right of Californians to know whether their personal information is sold or disclosed and to whom.
  • The right of Californians to say no to the sale of personal information.
  • The right of Californians to access their personal information.
  • The right of Californians to equal service and price, even if they exercise their privacy rights.

Americans value their privacy, both in the physical world and online. A recent Pew Research Center study found that 91% of adults agree that consumers have lost control over how personal information is collected and used by companies. Businesses are already working to weaken the law before it takes effect in 2021. California legislators must resist those efforts.