Prop. 24: Does California’s landmark consumer privacy law need tighter protections?
Proposition 24 amends the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, to allow consumers to prevent and limit businesses from sharing their personal information, such as location, race, ethnicity and health data.
Consumers could also correct inaccuracies in their personal data. A new state agency and the state’s Department of Justice would share responsibility for overseeing and enforcing state consumer privacy laws.
Proponents argue Proposition 24 would strengthen privacy laws, protect children online and hold businesses accountable when fundamental rights are violated. They claim existing law allows giant corporations to collect and sell personal information about children, health, finances and race.
Supporters of “Yes on 24” include Consumer Watchdog, California NAACP State Conference, community and labor organizations; businesses, technology and political leaders, including state Sen. Bill Dodd, D- Napa, and state Controller Betty Yee.
“Yes on 24” is entirely funded by Alastair Mactaggart, a Bay Area real estate developer who authored the ballot initiative. He’s contributed more than $5 million toward its passage.
A key piece of the ballot initiative is that the onus is on consumers to request businesses not use or sell their data. Opponents of Proposition 24, led by privacy advocate Mary Ross, want it the other way around.
Opponents argue Proposition 24 weakens, rather than strengthens, the privacy of Californians, stating the ballot initiative’s 52 pages are “full of giveaways to social media and tech giants,” and gives big-tech corporations new ways to gather Californians’ private information, such as data from health and financial apps, and tracking where they go when outside the state.
The opponents have struggled to find funding, having raised less than $50,000 so far, from Consumer Federation, the League of Women Voters and the California Nurses Association.
Proposition 24 opponents also include the American Civil Liberties Union of California, Color of Change, California Alliance for Retired Americans, Consumer Federation of America and others.
“California’s new privacy law just took effect this year. Smaller businesses spent a lot of money to comply with the new regulations,” opponents stated in the argument against Proposition 24. “Before we even know how this new law is working, Proposition 24 rewrites it, forcing smaller businesses to absorb even more costs at a time that the economic slowdown has many businesses on the verge of closing their doors.”
If Proposition 24 passes, the fiscal impact amounts to increased annual state costs of at least $10 million, but unlikely exceeding low tens of millions of dollars, to enforce expanded consumer privacy laws. Some costs would be offset by penalties for violating these laws, as stated in California’s official voter information guide.