ILC joins over 50 knowledge safety specialists talking out in opposition to incorrect Prop 24 (Private Shopper Info Act and Company Initiative)

Bennet Kelley, founder of the Internet Law Center, joined Professor Eric Goldman of Santa Clara University Law School and over 50 other privacy professionals in campaigning against Proposition 24, the 52-page law initiative and agency for consumer personal information put.

We are data protection professionals or other data protection professionals. Proposition 24, the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), will benefit us financially as it will increase demand for our services. Nevertheless, we reject the proposal. Those of us in California will vote NO to Prop. 24, and we all encourage Californians to vote NO too

How we got here:
Change of law after 53 days

To understand why, one has to understand how we got here. As Professor Goldman points out, Alastair Mactaggart wrote the California Consumer Privacy Act in 2018 as an electoral proposal that “operates with virtually no public input or scrutiny” and severely curtailed the legislature’s ability to amend it. Once that measure qualified for the vote, Mactaggart made an offer to lawmakers – they would withdraw the proposal if lawmakers could pass something near their 10,000 word proposal in the remaining seven days that it could step down. Legislators have complied and passed California’s Consumer Protection Act, which only went into effect in January 2020. The Attorney General’s rules (which included several drafts, public comments and hearings over a period of months) went into effect on August 14, 2020.

In November 2019, ahead of the CCPA’s entry into force, Mactaggart submitted this new proposal to the Attorney General for signature, creating a new data protection bureaucracy and limiting changes to changes that are appropriate or encouraging “for the purpose and intent” of the measure Otherwise, privacy will be improved. See Prop 24 overview.

Teddy Roosevelt stated that the process of initiative and representative government should be complementary and not detrimental. I’ve said that for a long time

[i]Proponents of initiatives should be able to draw on legislative expertise through public hearings on all qualifying measures and should be allowed to incorporate recommended changes. A summary of the legislator’s recommendations and findings should also be included in the voter guide.

Special elections shed light on the process of flawed initiative, Santa Monica Daily Press (November 25, 2005)

However, this is not the system we have in California today. Instead, After the early voting began on October 5th, Californians will be asked to approve a 52-page amendment to their privacy laws drafted by a billionaire with no public contribution just 53 days after the provisions of the existing law came into effect based on a 93-word summary of the ballot papers.1

The objection statement from the privacy professionals (who, incidentally, will benefit from the confusion and litigation that will arise from this case) includes the statements of several signatories, including my own (the first):

Why we oppose Prop 24

  • “I don’t think that a complex data protection law that regulates most US websites and restricts changes should be based on a three-sentence summary. That is the job of the legislature. “
  • “We have only been in the CCPA enforcement phase for four months. Realistically, we are only beginning to see the effects of what this law has done. At least within the framework of the CCPA, we have the opportunity to make changes via the legislator in good time if necessary. Codifying what is essentially the same text and then having difficulty fixing known and unknown problems when the existing law is still not working properly is one way of doing greater harm to the people it is intended to help. ”
  • “There wasn’t enough time to assess the impact of CCPA enforcement earlier this year to completely revise California’s privacy laws again and add additional complex regulations to this area. Such hasty legislation, especially in an election proposal, is irresponsible and a bad way to deal with those who have spent considerable time and energy in recent years getting their companies to comply with the CCPA. “
  • “Vote NO to Prop 24! Prop 24 is very poorly written and will mess up an already hastily written California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). The CCPA has not been in effect for a year and already individuals are trying to change it using Prop 24. We should understand the impact of the CCPA and seek feedback on the loopholes, errors and issues with the CCPA through a public process before we change it. Privacy laws and changes to privacy laws should be passed by California lawmakers through a transparent and thoughtful process of soliciting feedback from the public, including consulting data protection professionals. Instead, Prop 24 severely limits the ability of lawmakers to change and improve California’s privacy law. Prop 24 was written behind closed doors, without a transparent and frank conversation with the public or experts. The problems with Prop 24 become even more apparent when you find that large groups for civil liberties like the ACLU are also against Prop 24. Californians deserve better, more thoughtful, and broader privacy law. Please, please vote NO on Prop 24. “
  • “No law should be made like this.”

Data protection groups reject Prop 24

Proposition 24 has some strong political supporters, with former presidential candidate Andrew Yang not only advocating the proposal but now leading the fight for it.

Alongside these privacy professionals, there are a number of privacy advocates who oppose Prop 24, including Mary Stone Ross who helped shape the CCPA initiative, the ACLU, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Californians for Privacy Now, the Center for Digital Democracy and Consumer Action Consumer Federation of California, Public Citizen and the League of Women Voters among others. That’s right – privacy advocates disapprove of Prop 24.

As the San Francisco Chronicle points out in the opposition:

There are no legislative amendments to this initiative that California legislature could not enact after public hearings and reviews to ensure that they actually achieve their intended purpose and have the ability to correct unintended consequences.

Simply put, there is too much at stake as it will affect the entire US economy at a time of profound economic crisis and it is simply irresponsible to make such sweeping changes without taking the time to get it right .

Suggested Links

1If we changed the U.S. Constitution every 53 days, we would have 1,673 changes by 2020 election day.

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