California Privacy Proposal Draws Tech Company Opposition

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By Daniel Golightly June 16, 2018, 9:08am
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A new proposal called the California Consumer Privacy Act appears to be spurring some pretty sizeable opposing contributions from some of the United States' biggest technology companies, including Google, Facebook, and Amazon. As many as half of the eighteen financial contributions against the proposal in excess of $5,000 come from big names in the tech industry. The proposed California legislation would effectively require that companies that collect data disclose what data they are collecting and how that data is being used. For example, a company like Facebook would need to tell its users which types of information they are collecting and that the information will be used for targeted advertising. Beyond that, companies would also be required to allow consumers to completely opt out of having their data collected and sold. The initiative was first started back in 2014 by a real estate developer Alastair Mactaggart and currently has 600,000 unverified signatures which are being sorted through to verify whether or not the required 366,000 valid signatures are included.

Meanwhile, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon have all donated in excess of $190,000 to campaigns against the measure. In fact, with the exception of Microsoft and Amazon, which donated $195,000 each, every other company has donated a full $200,000. Smaller contributions were made by Cox Communications and Uber at $50,000. The appearance of those companies on the list shouldn't be all that surprising since each company listed draws a reasonable portion of its income from advertising. In the case of Google and Facebook, in particular, ads make up the overwhelming majority of incoming assets. The companies' contributions are directed toward a group known as the Committee to Protect California Jobs. The committee has argued that the proposal is flawed, while individual companies have taken it, in turn, to point out how the proposal might harm business models or outright threaten businesses.

At the same time, the legislation isn't entirely without merit, according to those same tech companies. In fact, both Amazon and Microsoft have stated that they support the underlying premise but that there are more efficient ways to accomplish the desired effect in support of consumer and user privacy.

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June 16, 2018, 9:08am
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