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Friday, March 29, 2013
California Legislative Alerts:On this page, Consumer Action highlights important California legislation and other state issues relating to privacy.
NEW: Support the Right to Know Act
Californians enjoy a constitutional right to privacy, and privacy laws written 10 years ago such as Civil Code Sec. 1798.83 were enacted to protect privacy by informing Californians when businesses share their personal information. Unfortunately, the 10 years since these laws were implemented have rendered many of them obsolete, due to technological change, and by more aggressive tactics by businessess to track and share consumers' activities. Today, websites install multiple tracking tools when consumers visit webpages, allowing them to collect information on browsing history, purchases, and even health queries and share them with third parties. Unimaginable in 2003, popular mobile apps today share location, age, gender, and other personal details of both adults and children with third party companies. Mistakes in data collected from online and social media sites have already harmed consumers – causing loss of employment and damaging credit history.
AB 1291 (the "Right to Know Act") would modernize the current law’s inadequate definitions and simplify the disclosure process for both businesses and individuals. Specifically, AB 1291 would:
a) Update obsolete focus on direct marketing (via postal mail, email, telephone calls) and cover the modern methods businesses share consumer data with online advertisers, data brokers, and other third parties.
b) Modernize the statute’s inadequate definition of personal information to include location data, details of friends and associations, sexual orientation, and buying habits.
c) Simplify the law’s request and response requirements so as to provide consumers with clear understanding on when, how, and by whom their data is used.
With these changes, Californians could effectively ask companies to tell them: (1) what personal information a company has collected about them (rights that European citizens already enjoy); and (2) what types of personal information a company has shared with a third party (religious affiliation, medical information, location information, financial information, and more) and; (3) the names and contact information of these third parties.
When Californians shop, search online, or use a mobile app they should be able to know how their sensitive data is being collected and shared with other companies since consumer’s data can be used in ways they do not realize and can cause them harm. It is time to pass AB 1291–The Right to Know Act.
To write to your lawmaker about this issue, use our California Action Tools. Click here.
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