Jun 29, 2018

What they’re saying: The mixed reactions to California’s new privacy law

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

California's privacy bill was signed into law on Thursday, and the reaction has been an assortment of mixed feelings.

The big picture: Several tech companies, nonprofits and interest groups released statements about the new privacy law anticipating what it may mean for how future policy will be introduced on a global scale.

Praising it:
  • Center for Humane Technology, a nonprofit which advocates for "time well spent" with tech devices, said:
"We are thrilled that it passed today. This is an important first step towards creating comprehensive privacy legislation covering all Americans, and we look forward to working with lawmakers, advocates and industry to make that happen."
  • Common Sense Media, a nonprofit focused on media for families and children, called California a pioneer in both tech revolution and now consumer privacy safeguards. James P. Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense, said they expect other states to follow, and added:
"Today was a huge win and gives consumer privacy advocates a blueprint for success. We look forward to working together with lawmakers across the nation to ensure robust data privacy protections for all Americans."
Mixed bag:
  • TechNet, an industry lobby, said the law offers new layer of protection but will need revision.
"It is critical that the business community, consumer groups, and the legislature work together over the next 18 months to improve this law."
  • Google:
"While today’s law marks some improvements to an overly vague and broad ballot measure, it came together under extreme time pressure, and imposes sweeping novel obligations on thousands of large and small businesses around the world, across every industry. We appreciate that California legislators recognize these issues and we look forward to improvements to address the many unintended consequences of the law."
Blasting it:
  • The ACLU of Northern California:
“Concern for privacy is at an all-time high in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and yet California has enacted a law that utterly fails to provide the privacy protections the public has demanded and deserves. Nobody should be fooled to think AB 375 properly protects Californians’ privacy."

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