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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Starting today, Californians can find out what data certain companies have collected about them, and even ask for it to be deleted, under the new California Consumer Privacy Act.

Why it matters: The law covers residents of the most populous state, but it also has national repercussions. Some companies like Microsoft have already said they'll be extending the practices required under the law to all their customers and users. And other states tend to follow California when it introduces firm rules that don't exist on the federal level.

The law applies to any company that has California-based customers and meets any one of these criteria:

  • Has at least $25 million in annual gross revenue
  • Has personal information on at least 50,000 people, households or devices
  • Earns at least half its money selling California consumers' personal information

How it works: The California attorney general is in charge of enforcing the law against companies that break it, though AG Xavier Becerra's office is expected to only have the resources to handle a limited number of cases per year.

  • Companies can't discriminate against consumers who opt out of data collection and must still provide them with free services (though they may be modified from the fully fledged versions offered to people who hand over their data).

What's next: The sprint to July 1. That's the deadline for the AG's office to finalize regulations laying out exactly what companies need to do to stay in compliance with the law.

  • Some businesses hope those regulations will settle questions around parts of the law they say are ambiguous, such as a provision that lets consumers block their data from being sold, the New York Times notes.
  • Also starting in July, Californians will be allowed to sue businesses for certain data breaches, and the California AG will be able to start bringing enforcement actions.
  • Californians may also get to vote in November on a ballot initiative that would expand these privacy rights.

Learn more about what some companies know about you:

Go deeper:

Editor's note: This post has been clarified to better reflect which companies must comply with the law.

Go deeper

Collins helps contractor before pro-Susan PAC gets donation

Sen. Susan Collins during her reelection campaign. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.

How cutting GOP corporate cash could backfire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Companies pulling back on political donations, particularly to members of Congress who voted against certifying President Biden's election win, could inadvertently push Republicans to embrace their party's rightward fringe.

Why it matters: Scores of corporate PACs have paused, scaled back or entirely abandoned their political giving programs. While designed to distance those companies from events that coincided with this month's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, research suggests the moves could actually empower the far-right.

9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Kaine, Collins pitch Senate colleagues on censuring Trump

Sen. Tim Kaine speaks with Sen. Susan Collins. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine and Susan Collins are privately pitching their colleagues on a bipartisan resolution censuring former President Trump, three sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction in his second impeachment.