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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Californians approved of a ballot proposition aimed at “fixing” loopholes in the California Consumer Privacy Act and beef up the enforcement resources available by setting up a new agency.

Why it matters: The CCPA, which took effect January 2019, has been closely watched by other states as a potential model for privacy legislation. But it’s also faced criticisms, including that it gives social media companies too many easy workarounds.

Details: Under the CCPA, companies that “share” user data with other services ( as opposed to “selling" it) and those who use customer data for a “business purpose” can ignore users' choice to opt out of letting companies use their data. "Business purpose" can include online ad targeting.

  • The new proposition ends that exemption and requires more companies, including those that sell targeted ads, like Facebook — to respect those opt-outs.
  • It will also beef up the enforcement resources available by setting up a new agency with $10 million in funds.

Yes, but: It's also been criticized, including by privacy advocates like the Consumer Federation of California, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU's California arm, for some of its fine print.

  • Specifically, critic say it further entrenches companies' ability to charge users who opt out of sharing their data, which might impact already disadvantaged users who can't afford that cost.
  • Critics also say the proposition should have broadened those who are eligible to sue companies beyond state officials to individual users.
  • Some wanted the proposition to require that companies treat all user data collection as an "opt-in" arrangement rather than a default that users can opt out of.

Moreover: Other state and city-level ballot measure are also likely to affect Silicon Valley.

  • San Franciscans voted in favor of Prop. L, which will tax companies that pay the highest-earning employee (often the chief executive) 100 times or more than the median salary of its San Francisco workers, starting in 2022.
  • They also voted in favor of Prop. F, which will phase out the city's payroll-based business taxes in favor of a tax on gross receipts. It will also increase registration fees and taxes for some larger companies, and decrease taxes on small businesses with less than $1 million in gross receipts. Large tech companies would likely see bigger tax bills.
  • Californians voted in favor of Prop. 22, which lets gig economy companies like Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash treat their drivers as independent contractors instead of reclassifying them to be employees, as a recently approved law required.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Jan 28, 2021 - Technology

Exclusive: Snapchat launches new digital literacy program

Snapchat

Snapchat on Thursday unveiled a new digital literacy program aimed at educating its users about issues like data privacy and security.

Why it matters: Snapchat intends to help its young-skewing user base understand the risks associated with navigating an under-regulated web.

Jan 27, 2021 - Technology

Facebook stock whipsaws amid ad targeting concerns

Photo Illustration by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook's stock showed volatility in after-hours trading Wednesday, despite adding users and beating on top and bottom lines.

Why it matters: Investors seem spooked by proposed changes to user data collection by Apple that would impact Facebook's ad business, in addition to perennial threats of new federal privacy regulations.

Cuomo says words may have been "misinterpreted" following allegations of harassment

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a Feb. 22 news conference. Photo: Seth Wenig/pool/AF via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a lengthy statement on Sunday saying he " never inappropriately touched anybody" but acknowledged that "some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation," after two of his former aides accused him of sexual harassment.

Why it matters: Prior to Cuomo's statement, in which he adds that he "never inappropriately touched anybody" or meant to make anyone uncomfortable, the governor's office and the state attorney general went back and forth in a public disagreement about how to investigate the allegations.