Victory for Now: California Hits Pause on A.B. 165, Bill that Sought to Undermine Student Privacy
It's a great day for digital privacy in California. Confronted with opposition from a powerful and diverse coalition, Assemblymember Jim Cooper has pulled his legislation, A.B. 165, from consideration by the Assembly Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee. EFF joined over 60 civil rights organizations, technology companies, and school community groups in fighting A.B. 165, and we thank all the EFF members and friends who joined us in speaking out. The unrelenting, principled opposition to this anti-privacy bill stopped it from reaching its first committee hearing.
A.B. 165 attempted to create a carve-out in the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (CalECPA), one of the strongest digital privacy bills in the nation. If A.B. 165 had passed, it would have left millions of Californians who attend our schools without strong protections against invasive digital searches.
California students need privacy on their digital devices in order to research sensitive topics, explore political issues, and connect with friends and family members. That’s especially true in this political moment when many students who come from immigrant families, are exploring their sexuality, or who are engaging in political protest may feel heightened concern around government access to their digital data.
The students of today will be the voters, creators, and policymakers of tomorrow. By teaching students that our laws respect and uphold their digital privacy from a young age, we can help create a future generation of engaged citizens who understand the value of digital privacy.
We thank the California Assemblymembers who responded to the privacy concerns with AB 165 and halted this bill in response to the public outcry, especially Assemblymember Ed Chau, Chair of the Committee.
While we are celebrating today, this fight isn’t over. A.B. 165 could be revived at some point during this two-year legislative cycle. If you haven’t already, please tell your California representative you stand for privacy.
The price of freedom is vigilance, and EFF relies on individual donations to vigilantly defend digital privacy. Please support our work.