Advocates Push Ahead With New Version Of Calif. Privacy Law

By Ben Kochman
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Law360 (May 5, 2020, 9:31 PM EDT) --

Sponsors of a California ballot measure that would revamp the state's landmark consumer privacy law say they are moving forward with plans to put the proposal on November's ballot, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Californians for Consumer Privacy, the advocacy group founded by real estate developer Alastair Mactaggart, said late Monday that it had submitted more than 900,000 signatures to county election officials in support of the California Privacy Rights Act, which according to its backers would strengthen the California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA, which took effect in January. 

The new ballot initiative, sometimes referred to as "CCPA 2.0," has until June 25 to get at least 623,212 signatures from California residents verified by the state in order to be placed on the Nov. 3 general election ballot, state guidelines say.

A spokesperson for the California Secretary of State, Press Secretary Sam Mahood, could not confirm the advocacy group's signature count on Tuesday, saying that the state is still waiting to receive the raw counts from county officials. 

The new measure would make several changes to the CCPA, including by creating the California Privacy Protection Agency, which would replace the state attorney general's office in enforcing the law. The new initiative would also triple the CCPA's fines for collecting and selling children's private data without consent and provide new rules for how companies can use consumers' precise geolocation data, its sponsors say.

"Even as we've worked to strengthen privacy laws here in California, we've realized that our laws need to keep pace with the ever-changing landscape of constant corporate surveillance, information gathering and distribution," Mactaggart said in a press release.

The new initiative's progress comes as questions remain about how California Attorney General Xavier Becerra's office will enforce the CCPA starting in July, when the AG's office has said it will start holding companies accountable for compliance.

Lobbyists from the online advertising, technology, telecommunications, retail and other industries have urged authorities to hold off on enforcing the law until January 2021, claiming that the pandemic has further complicated companies' efforts to get up to speed with their obligations.

The CCPA is the first legislation in the country to give consumers the right to find out what data online businesses hold about them. Under the law, they can also request that the data be deleted and can opt out of the sale of that information, although major players in the digital advertising industry have taken different stances on whether they are in fact selling consumer data.

The law also gives California residents the right to opt out of the sale of their personal information to third parties.

--Additional reporting by Hailey Konnath. Editing by Alanna Weissman.

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