Lawmakers in California passed a new Privacy Bill this week, the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (AB275). It was introduced last week, and voted on Thursday and pass unanimously. The bill would give residents more control over what information is collected by businesses, and also impose new penalties on those businesses that don't comply. This new law won't take effect until 2020, however, but this is going to allow business interest groups to get into the details of this legislation before then.
Essentially, residents in California will be able to see what information is collected on them, also request that the information be deleted and get access to information on the types of companies the data has been sold to. Residents can also direct businesses to stop selling that information to third parties. In a lot of ways, this is pretty similar to GDPR that was recently passed over in Europe and took effect last month. And many believe that this is just the beginning for privacy laws in the US. As many feel that Congress will be forced to draw up legislation to protect consumer's privacy as well. There is some talk about having a way for users to opt-in to having their information collected, and companies could charge them less for services because of that. Though that was not part of this legislation that was passed in California.
This could also change a lot of business models of company's. For instance, Google collects a ton of information from every user. This is what keeps many of Google's services free, and also allows them to better target ads to its users. If it is unable to collect that information, its ads won't be as useful, and thus advertisers will stop spending money and Google will be forced to charge for other products. That's just one example, but there are many other businesses that collect information to drop the cost of the service. Like AT&T's new Watch TV service. It's free to its customers because of ads. Now the tech industry did throw a lot of weight behind this, to keep it from passing. As it's going to affect them the most. But after the Cambridge Analytica scandal with Facebook, this was likely going to pass no matter what. It's likely that we'll see other States push through similar laws to protect consumers privacy.