The California Consumer Privacy Act represents a continuation of a trend in California to enact laws designed to provide consumers with the ability to learn how companies collect, secure, and use their information online. Let’s take a closer look at this legislation.
An Odd Beginning
The California Consumer Privacy Act is a bit of an odd bird. The law was not birthed through the usual process of a bill being introduced to the legislature, going through revisions and negotiations, and then being signed into law. Instead, the Act came to be through the initiative process that exists in California, but even then the progress with the law was…odd.
In the fall of 2017, successful real estate investor Alastair Mactaggart and Mary Ross proposed a ballot initiative known as the California Consumer Privacy Act. Under California law, groups can bypass the traditional legislative process by taking potential laws directly to the voters.
In this case, the proposed law was met with massive resistance from the tech industry as one would expect. Then the Cambridge Analytica situation started getting publicity. As a quick summary, Cambridge was able to gain access to the data for some 87 million people through the Facebook system for manipulation during the most recent Presidential election. Many people were stunned to learn of this and that their information was so easily compromised and shared without their consent.
In the face of the Cambridge/Facebook backlash, opposition to the California Consumer Privacy Act Initiative vanished. Polls revealed the bill would almost certainly pass, leaving tech companies scrambling. In June of 2018, the Mactaggart, Ross, and the California Legislature negotiated a deal wherein the Act would be agreed to and signed into law immediately, but with certain provisions toned down or eliminated to make implementation a more viable option for businesses required to comply with the Act. Here’s an overview of where matters stand with the law now.