Continuing the state’s efforts to lead the way on privacy-related legislation, California lawmakers are considering multiple bills that address issues like Do Not Track, data collection and disclosure, and a prohibition on certain online advertising to minors.
As the drama over federal implementation of a Do Not Track standard continues, Rep. Al Muratsuchi (D- Torrance) introduced AB 370 in the California legislature. “This bill would require an operator to disclose whether or not it honors a request from a consumer to disable online tracking. . . . The bill would also require an operator to disclose if it does not allow third parties to conduct online tracking on the commercial Web site or online service.”
The Assembly voted unanimously to pass the bill, and it was referred to the Senate for consideration.
Meanwhile, the Senate unanimously approved SB 368, which would allow Internet users under the age of 18 to remove content they had previously posted online. In addition, the bill would prohibit companies from serving ads to minors for products or services they cannot legally purchase or participate in – alcoholic beverages, for example.
The proposed law, introduced by Rep. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), would take effect Jan. 1, 2015 and would apply to mobile apps as well as Internet sites, services, and online applications.
Finally, a third piece of legislation intended to update and expand the 2003 Shine the Light law – which requires companies to provide state residents with certain information about their sharing of consumer data with third parties for marketing purposes – received such pushback from opponents that it has already been shelved by its sponsor.
Rep. Bonnie Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) introduced the Right to Know Act of 2013, AB 1291, which would have expanded the original law to the Internet and required online companies to inform consumers about the information that has been collected and disclose which ad networks, data brokers, or third parties have received the data. Under the proposed legislation, “personal information” is defined as “any information that identifies or references a particular individual or electronic device” which includes everything from name and e-mail address to location information, medical and employment data, and IP addresses.
Concerned about the scope of the covered data as well as the administrative burden the bill would place on Internet companies – particularly small businesses – groups like the California Chamber of Commerce, NetChoice, and the Direct Marketing Association spoke out against the legislation.
In response, Rep. Lowenthal pulled her proposal, but she told the Silicon Valley News that she plans to re-introduce a similar bill next year. “Californians don’t need to be persuaded that they should be able to ask a business what it knows about them,” she said. “But in the legislature, it has become clear that we still have our work cut out for us.”
To read AB 370, click here.
To read SB 568, click here.
To read AB 1291, click here.
Why it matters: These multiple pieces of legislation reinforce the message that California lawmakers are focused on all aspects of consumer privacy, from protections for minors to DNT to behavioral advertising. We will provide continued coverage as the bills progress through the legislative process.