California Legislature Caves to Big Tech Pressure Again and Undermines Consumer Privacy Rights

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 16, 2019
Media Contact: Daisy Vieyra
[email protected]; 916-824-3266

SACRAMENTO–Today, the California Senate Appropriations Committee refused to advance SB 561, a bill that would allow Californians to hold tech companies accountable for privacy violations. SB 561 is authored by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, at the request of Attorney General Becerra, and supported by consumer and privacy advocates.

“The legislature just put Big Tech before Californians by killing the only remaining pro-consumer privacy bill, refusing even to let it even move forward to a vote,” said Chris Conley, Policy Attorney with ACLU of California. “Without SB 561, Californians won’t have a meaningful way to hold tech companies accountable if they break that law and misuse our personal information. What we’re seeing is a clear and unprecedented takeover of the legislature by tech industry interests.”

SB 561 would have allowed individuals to enforce privacy rights when tech companies violate laws protecting individual privacy. It also would have removed the “get out of jail free” card that leaves companies immune to any consequences if they “fix” any violation within 30 days – after the damage to consumers has already been done.

“Without the ability to effectively enforce the law, the CCPA that was touted as a major privacy victory last year rings hollow,” Conley said.

This year dozens of bills aim to revise the California Consumer Privacy Act. SB 561 was the only remaining bill that would strengthen consumer privacy after the Assembly Privacy Committee killed AB 1760, the Privacy for All Act, last month.

Tech companies and other industry interests have supported dozens of bills that would weaken the CCPA and which are opposed by the ACLU of California, including the following anti-privacy and pro-tech industry bills:

  • AB 25, authored by Assemblymember Chau
  • AB 846, authored by Assemblymember Burke/li>
  • AB 873, authored by Assemblymember Irwin
  • AB 981, authored by Assemblymember Daly
  • AB 1416, authored by Assemblymember Cooley
  • AB 1564, authored by Assemblymember Berman
  • SB 753, authored by Senator Stern