A bill by Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) to protect the personal information of consumers passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee today.
The bill, “SB 1348″ reinforces a consumer’s constitutional right to privacy by requiring that data brokers give California residents the option to opt-out of having their personal information sold or traded. This bill defines a data broker as a commercial entity that collects, assembles, and sells personal information of people who have had no prior direct contact with the data broker. This definition was derived from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in recent reports on the data broker industry.
“Consumers should have a right to protect their personal information from being bought, sold, and traded by unregulated data brokers,” Senator DeSaulnier said. “Californians face serious personal safety threats, privacy violations, and discrimination when they have no control over who can buy and sell their personal information. Californians should have a clear and simple way to opt-out of having their personal information bought and sold.”
Research from the Pew Center indicates that 68% of US internet users feel that current laws are not sufficient to protect people’s privacy online, and that 86% of users have taken steps to mask their digital footprint. This bill would take steps towards establishing a citizen’s fundamental right to privacy in the modern digital world. Recently, the FTC released a report, Data Brokers: A Call for Transparency and Accountability, outlining the lack of consumer rights in relation to personal information that is held by data brokers. SB 1348 works towards the FTC’s call for greater protections of consumers’ personal information.
This bill requires a data broker who sells personal information to third parties to allow California residents to opt-out of the sale and public posting of their personal information upon request. SB 1348 requires that data brokers offer an option to opt-out, either in written form or in an easily located link on their business websites. Additionally, the bill prohibits the data broker from re-posting the individual’s personal information or transferring the information to another business entity.