California legislators adopt tough new privacy rules targeting Facebook, Google and other tech giants

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CA legislators adopted sweeping new rules that restrict the data-harvesting practices of, Facebook, Google and Uber, a move that soon could spur other states and Congress to take aim at the tech industry. The California Consumer Privacy Act is one of the toughest U.S. regulations targeting Silicon Valley, where recent privacy mishaps — many involving Facebook — have left consumers clamoring for greater protections online. The law requires tech giants to disclose the kind of data they collect about consumers and allows Web users to opt out of having their information sold to third parties, including advertisers. The new privacy rules, which are slated to come into effect in 2020, apply only to residents in CA. That leaves time for corporate critics such as AT&T, Comcast, Facebook and Google to resume lobbying aggressively to revise it over the next year.

Going forward, though, California’s privacy protections could force tech companies to change their business practices nationwide, rather than maintaining two systems: one in California, and another for everyone else. Apple, Facebook and Google took a similar approach in May after European regulators began implementing new privacy rules, known as General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. “I think it’s going to set the standard across the country that legislatures across the country will look to adopt in their own states,” CA state Sen Bob Hertzberg (D), one of the law’s authors, said before it passed June 28.

Under the new rules, California’s attorney general will play a starring role monitoring Silicon Valley’s privacy practices — and bringing cases, along with potential fines, when a company such as Amazon or Microsoft fails to honor consumers' privacy choices or safeguard their data from cybercriminals. To that end, state Sen Hertzberg said that the state’s attorney general would soon become “the chief privacy officer of the United States.”

California legislators adopt tough new privacy rules targeting Facebook, Google and other tech giants California approves privacy rules opposed by ISPs and tech companies (ars technica) California lawmakers just passed one of the toughest data privacy bills in the country (The Verge) California lawmakers pass tough new privacy bill (The Hill)