Privacy Take Two

A new initiative was filed last week regarding the privacy of consumer data by Alastair Mactaggart, the same individual who initially filed a privacy initiative in 2018 that led to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). The CCPA was signed into law in 2018 and goes into effect January 1, 2020. It is one of the most expansive privacy data laws in the country. Due to a then pending ballot initiative authored by Alastair Mactaggart, the Legislature passed the CCPA in a week to secure the removal of the initiative from the 2018 ballot.

Given the urgency in which the CCPA was passed, there are several flaws that need to be fixed in order for the law to work as intended, including fixing the definition of “publicly available” information so it doesn’t violate the First Amendment, clarifying deidentified data is not considered personal information, and specifying that car manufacturers can maintain certain personal information to ensure consumers have adequate information regarding recalls. Much of the 2019 legislative session was spent by the business community advocating and negotiating amendments on these issues, and several bills that includes these fixes are now pending on the Governor’s desk for signature.

So why the new initiative? Mactaggart has indicated he was concerned with legislative efforts in 2019 to undermine the CCPA and wanted to make sure the CCPA was fixed so that it actually works. But, the initiative adds many more provisions that are not included in the CCPA, such as limitations on advertising and a new state agency to regulate privacy and enforce the CCPA.

Mactaggart has indicated that he is interested in working with the business community to negotiate language in the new initiative so that businesses can actually comply while maintaining consumer privacy. Given the initiative process, the time in which to negotiate is limited, only 30 days from the date the initiative is filed. The clock is already ticking. Stay tuned to see the status of this initiative over the next month, whether amendments are taken, and what this means for consumer data privacy in California.

Jennifer Barrera, Executive Vice President