SACRAMENTO — Today, the California Assembly Privacy Committee will hear only consumer privacy bills promoted by tech companies to weaken the California Consumer Privacy Act. This comes after AB 1760, a bill to strengthen privacy protections authored by Assemblymember Buffy Wicks and sponsored by civil rights organizations and digital privacy advocates was pulled when committee members would not to support the bill.
“Big tech has apparently privatized the Privacy Committee,” said Jacob Snow, a Technology and Civil Liberties Attorney with the ACLU of California. “Recent polling shows that 90% of Californians want to require companies to better protect their privacy. Tech companies have been able to do whatever they want with our personal information for far too long.”
The only other pro-consumer privacy bill moving through the legislature this year is SB 561, authored by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson and sponsored by the California Attorney General. The ACLU of California also supports SB 561.
Tech companies and other industry interests have supported dozens of bills that would weaken the CCPA, including several that the Privacy Committee will hear today and which are opposed by the ACLU of California:
- AB 25, authored by Assemblymember Chau
- AB 846, authored by Assemblymember Burke
- AB 873, authored by Assemblymember Irwin
- AB 981, authored by Assemblymember Daly
- AB 1564, authored by Assemblymember Berman
The ACLU also opposes SB 753, authored by Senator Stern, another bill that would weaken the California Consumer Privacy Act.
AB 1760 was sponsored by a large, diverse coalition of civil rights, privacy, racial justice, immigrants’ rights, and economic equity organizations, as well as 24 for-profit technology companies.
“The civil rights groups and privacy advocates that sponsored AB 1760 know that consumer privacy has serious implications for vulnerable communities. That’s particularly devastating in this political moment when immigrants and Muslims are targeted by the federal government, and in which social media companies enabled surveillance of Black Lives Matter activists,” said Snow. “We will continue to advocate for privacy rights for everyone in our state.”
When laws don’t require companies to protect consumers’ personal information, the result is disasters like Cambridge Analytica, massive data breaches, and online discrimination.
- Facebook allowed advertisers on the platform to exclude Black and Latino “ethnic affinity” users from seeing information about housing, employment, and credit; Google ads for high paying jobs were shown disproportionately to men rather than women.
- Major social media companies shared data that enabled surveillance of Black Lives Matter activists.
- Data brokers have compiled and sold lists of rape survivors and seniors with dementia, putting them at increased risk of fraud and scams.
- Facebook prompted users as young as 13 to install an app to track their habits, and that gave the company access to everything their phone sent or received over the internet.
AB 1760 was sponsored by a broad coalition including Access Humboldt, ACLU of California, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA, Asian Law Alliance, Brave Software, Business and Professional Women of Nevada County, CalPIRG, Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, Center for Digital Democracy, Center for Human Rights and Privacy, Center for Media Justice, Citizens for Choice, Citizens Rise!, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), Color of Change, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Reports, Council on American-Islamic Relations – California, CreaTV, Digital Privacy Alliance, DuckDuckGo, Ella Baker Center, Fair Chance Project, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Equal Rights Advocates, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Line Break Media, Media Alliance, Oakland Privacy, Our Family Coalition, Pangea Legal Services, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, Restore The Fourth, San Jose/Silicon Valley NAACP, Secure Justice, The Greenlining Institute, The Utility Ratepayer Network (TURN), Women’s Foundation of California, X-Lab, Youth Tech Health.
24 tech companies also signed on in support of AB 1760.