Pushback on California Privacy Law Picks Up

California’s new data privacy law, in the mold of Europe’s GDPR, is leading the tech and advertising industries to push for federal legislation that would standardize the rules—and soften some of the California law’s requirements.

A controversial California law that tightens the state’s digital privacy regulations has prompted the tech industry to head to the federal level to press for an alternative.

A number of major companies—including the California-based Facebook and Google, along with IBM, Microsoft, and others—have increased their lobbying for federal privacy legislation, according to The New York Times, as has the Information Technology Industry Council, an industry trade group.

The federal proposals would preempt the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA), while also giving tech companies more flexibility in their handling of personal data.

“We are committed to being part of the process and a constructive part of the process,” ITI President Dean Garfield told the Times. “The best way is to work toward developing our own blueprint.”

Meanwhile, the Association of National Advertisers recently raised concerns with the Federal Trade Commission that the California law and Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation, which went into effect earlier this year, could threaten the digital ecosystem.

“We anticipate that the commission will find that laws like the GDPR and CCPA will limit competition, overburden consumers with opt-in notices, and make an efficient and effective digital economy harder to maintain,” ANA wrote, responding to a call for input from the FTC, according to MediaPost. “The commission should share its findings with legislatures and policymakers considering GDPR- or CCPA-like legislation. Such research will be critical to the formulation of well-informed policy decisions and enforcement priorities.”

While the tech industry effort gains steam, consumer and privacy advocates are pushing back. “It’s clear that the strategy here is to neuter California for something much weaker on the federal level,“ Ernesto Falcon, legislative counsel at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said in comments to the Times. “The companies are afraid of California because it sets the bar for other states.”

“This is their job: to try to make this thing absolutely meaningless. Our job is to say no,” Californians for Consumer Privacy Chairman Alastair MacTaggart recently told Wired.

(EtiAmmos/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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