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California residents could sue companies for violating privacy protections

California residents could be getting even more rights when it comes to protecting their data.State officials proposed a new amendment to the Californ...

Posted: Feb 26, 2019 5:47 AM

California residents could be getting even more rights when it comes to protecting their data.

State officials proposed a new amendment to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) on Monday that would allow consumers to sue companies that violate the new law. Currently, consumers can only file a lawsuit if they're victims of a data breach and only when the state's department of justice has decided not to sue on consumers' behalf.

The CCPA, which was passed in 2018 and goes into effect in 2020, is the toughest privacy legislation in the United States. It's also the first law in the country that gives people control over the use of their personal data.

Key parts of the law include prohibiting businesses from discriminating against consumers who exercise their rights and requiring businesses to disclose how they collect and share consumer data. It also lets consumers request that their data be deleted and makes it possible for people to opt out of the sale or sharing of their personal data.

The proposed amendment would give people more avenues to pursue their own resolution in court for any violation of the CCPA.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson unveiled the amendment at a press conference in Sacramento on Monday afternoon.

"If [companies are] violating your right, they're probably violating the rights of a lot of other people," Jackson said. "The purpose of this litigation is not to punish this behavior, it's to deter it. It's to make these companies comply with the law. If there's no punishment, if there's no accountability, they're going to keep doing it because it makes them money."

Consumers would be able to sue companies for misusing their data or suffering a data breach. The law would apply to tech companies like Facebook and Google as well as any other businesses that collect and handle personal information such as Marriott or Amazon. Facebook declined to comment. Google and Marriott did not respond to a request for comment.

James P. Steyer, CEO of Common Sense, a non-profit organization that promotes safe technology use, said the amendment will take some of the burden of enforcing and monitoring violations off the attorney general's plate.

"Companies with endless resources will do everything they can to make it difficult for the AG," Steyer said in a statement. "By allowing consumers their own right to take action to hold bad actors accountable for violating their privacy, this law adds needed enforcement teeth to CCPA and Common Sense is firmly in support."

The amendment would also remove the current waiting period that gives businesses 30 days to attempt to remedy a violation and retract any exposed data from public view to avoid penalties.

Additionally, under the amendment companies would no longer be able to ask the state DOJ for "free" legal advice about complying with the privacy law — a benefit that was included in the original privacy law.

"The California Department of Justice serves the state of California and its 40 million people collectively," Becerra said. "We protect them and their rights. We do not give out free legal advice, which is what this would translate into. It would be free legal advice to that business at taxpayer expense."

The amendment would instead allow the Attorney General's office to publish general guidance for companies complying with CCPA that anyone could access.

This new amendment follows legislation proposed on Thursday that would require companies to notify California residents when their passport, passport card or green card numbers are compromised in data breaches. It would also require customers be notified of compromised biometric information such as fingerprints.

California is the first state to have legislation like the CCPA, but other states are using it as a potential framework for adopting their own privacy laws.

Congress is also considering a national law that would address consumers' right to protect their data. While companies have lobbied for a law that would overrule the CCPA, state legislators have urged Congress not to nullify the consumer protections attained in the act.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 193732

Reported Deaths: 2572
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah38352591
Washington25592233
Marion22026306
Clackamas17440214
Lane13007148
Jackson10862139
Deschutes896274
Umatilla820284
Linn492969
Yamhill446376
Klamath441164
Polk375752
Malheur351863
Josephine334570
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Jefferson219837
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Union144823
Lincoln137921
Wasco137728
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Crook111322
Morrow110716
Clatsop9858
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Tillamook6493
Curry6469
Grant5095
Lake4517
Harney3448
Wallowa1845
Gilliam631
Sherman581
Wheeler321
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California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3764405

Reported Deaths: 62573
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles123645624067
Riverside2994554594
San Bernardino2967824715
San Diego2785913729
Orange2709835026
Santa Clara1190642096
Kern1091771374
Sacramento1048401686
Fresno1018381688
Alameda879401657
Ventura810011013
San Joaquin732201391
Contra Costa68741805
Stanislaus621421061
Tulare49654839
Monterey43613383
San Mateo42038568
San Francisco36720544
Santa Barbara34337456
Solano32953252
Merced31898460
Sonoma30035320
Imperial28443726
Kings22989246
Placer22679292
San Luis Obispo21308260
Madera16462242
Santa Cruz16264207
Marin14056227
Yolo13910210
Shasta12152226
Butte12026199
El Dorado10168112
Napa987082
Sutter9433112
Yuba626847
San Benito606563
Lassen570624
Tehama557262
Nevada474275
Tuolumne413166
Mendocino410149
Humboldt404641
Amador365847
Lake347643
Glenn239125
Colusa223416
Siskiyou223424
Calaveras212954
Inyo142838
Del Norte13938
Mono12844
Plumas7106
Modoc4994
Mariposa4487
Trinity4005
Sierra1120
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