Don’t Rush the Fix

July 3, 2018

Last Thursday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a sweeping new privacy/data security law that will have potential major impacts on all companies that conduct business there. The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, AB375, breezed through the state legislature in just one week and passed unanimously in both houses.

ANA and most business groups opposed the bill but we were given virtually no meaningful time or opportunity for input. The new bill was essentially a “take it or leave it” offer to replace the seriously flawed privacy initiative that was scheduled to be on the November ballot. There would have been very little opportunity, if any, to change the ballot initiative if approved by the voters in November; ballot initiatives can be amended only through a 2/3 vote of both chambers of the state legislature. On balance, there is a better opportunity to improve this flawed legislation than to successfully oppose the even more seriously flawed ballot proposal which contained massive potential penalties for violations.  

However, we are very concerned that the key sponsors are once again trying to rush through a “technical corrections” bill to fix some of the problems with AB375. Less than one week after the bill was signed, the Assembly Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection is holding a hearing today on that “technical corrections” bill. We wrote to the sponsors today, urging them to give the business community adequate time to provide thoughtful input before passing the “fix-up” bill.

The draft “technical corrections” bill has some initial steps in the right direction. It clarifies that the new private right of action is limited to the data breach provisions of the act. The clarification that the act does not infringe on First Amendment protected newsgathering activities is a perfect example of the need to carefully consider all of the unintended consequences of the law, something that clearly was not done in the rush to pass AB375.

Given the enormous impact the new law will have on the business community, it is critically important that the “technical corrections” bill is done right, rather than just done fast.  

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