The California Consumer Privacy Act will go into effect on January 1, 2020—having fended off a year of targeted efforts by technology giants who wanted to gut the bill. Most recently, industry tried to weaken its important privacy protections in the last days of the legislative session.
Californians made history last year when, after 600,000 people signed petitions in support of a ballot initiative, the California State Legislature answered their constituents’ call for a new data privacy law. It’s been a long fight to defend the CCPA against a raft of amendments that would have weakened this law and the protections it enshrines for Californians. Big technology companies backed a number of bills that each would have weakened the CCPA’s protections. Taken together, this package would have significantly undermined this historic law.
Fortunately, the worst provisions of these bills did not make it through the legislature—though it wasn’t for lack of trying. Lawmakers proposed bills that would have opened up loopholes in the law and made it easier for businesses to skirt privacy protections if they shared information with governments, changed definitions in the bill to broaden its exemptions, and made it easier for businesses to require customers to pay for their privacy rights.
These bills sailed through the Assembly but were stopped in July by the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson. The final amendments to the CCPA that passed through the legislature last week make small changes to the law, and do not weaken its important protections.
We want to thank everyone who called or wrote to their lawmakers to protect the CCPA this year and amplified how important data privacy is to the people of California. Your voices are invaluable to our advocacy.
We also appreciate the time that lawmakers, our coalition partners, and other stakeholders devoted to discussions about these amendments. As a result of this hard work, the California State Legislature stood up for the privacy law that they passed last year.
Still, while the CCPA is important for Californians’ consumer data privacy, it needs to be stronger. EFF and other privacy organizations earlier this year advanced two bills to strengthen the CCPA, which met significant opposition from technology industry trade association groups. Most importantly, these bills would have improved enforcement by allowing consumers to bring their own privacy claims to court. We particularly thank Assemblymember Buffy Wicks. Sen. Jackson, and the California Attorney General’s Office for leading the charge to improve the CCPA in the legislature.
More than anything, this year’s CCPA fight shows that when voters speak up for their privacy, it makes a big difference with legislators. We look forward to continuing to work with legislators and our coalition partners to advance measures that improve everyone’s privacy. We also look forward to offering input on the Attorney General’s regulations for the CCPA, expected this fall. And as technology trade groups redouble their efforts to weaken state privacy laws or override them with a national law, we encourage everyone to keep pushing for strong consumer data privacy laws across the country.