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California Assembly’s Privacy Committee Votes to Weaken Landmark Privacy Law

DEEPLINKS BLOG
April 23, 2019

California Assembly’s Privacy Committee Votes to Weaken Landmark Privacy Law

California Privacy

Update, April 24: This post has been updated to show how members of the Privacy Committee voted on each bill.

The California State Assembly’s Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee today capitulated to industry complaints that our privacy is inconvenient for its bottom line. It voted to advance five bills opposed by privacy advocates that would undermine the landmark California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and put companies before consumers.

Rather than stand up for Californians and their constitutional right to privacy, this Committee and its Chairman Ed Chau would not defend the CCPA, let alone strengthen it.

Committee members undercut consumer privacy by passing the following bills:

  • A.B. 25 (Chau) would allow companies to collect invasive data about their employees.
    • Votes in favor: Assemblymembers Chau, Kiley, Bauer-Kahan, Berman, Calderon, Gabriel, Gallagher, Irwin, Obernolte, and Smith.
    • Abstained: Assemblymember Wicks.
  • A.B. 846 (Burke) would increase the power of businesses to force consumers to pay for their CCPA privacy rights.
    • Votes in favor: Assemblymembers Chau, Kiley, Bauer-Kahan, Berman, Calderon, Gabriel, Irwin, Obernolte, and Smith.
    • Abstained: Assemblymembers Gallagher, Wicks.
  • A.B. 981 (Daly) would allow the insurance industry to dodge the consumer protections of the CCPA.
    • Votes in favor: Assemblymembers Chau, Kiley, Bauer-Kahan, Berman, Calderon, Gabriel, Gallagher, Irwin, and Obernolte.
    • Abstained: Assemblymembers Smith, Wicks.
  • A.B. 873 (Irwin) would weaken two critical definitions (“personal information” and “deidentified”) and thus undermine necessary privacy protections in the CCPA.
    • Votes in favor: Assemblymembers Chau, Kiley, Bauer-Kahan, Berman, Calderon, Gabriel, Gallagher, Irwin, Obernolte and Smith.
    • Abstained: Assemblymember Wicks.
  • A.B. 1564 (Berman) would increase the cost of asserting privacy rights, which is especially harmful to low-income Californians.
    • Votes in favor: Assemblymembers Chau, Kiley, Bauer-Kahan, Berman, Calderon, Gabriel, Gallagher, Irwin, Obernolte, and Smith.
    • Abstained: Assemblymember Wicks.

It is deeply unfortunate that the members of this committee—with the exception of Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, who abstained from all CCPA votes—passed these bills out of committee.

We are especially disappointed in Privacy Committee Chairman Ed Chau. He was the author of the CCPA. Today, he voted to significantly weaken both this law and the privacy rights he previously championed.

While the Assembly Privacy Committee today failed to protect our privacy, the Senate Judiciary Committee recently voted to strengthen it. That Committee voted to advance Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson’s bill, S.B. 561. This bill will improve the enforcement of the CCPA by ensuring that people can sue the companies that violate their privacy rights, and strengthening the powers of the California Attorney General.

In coming weeks, we will continue to fight the industry bills advanced today by the Assembly Privacy Committee, and champion stronger privacy legislation such as S.B. 561.

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