California Assemblymember Ed Chau has introduced a new internet privacy bill in California in direct response to the repeal of FCC internet privacy regulations, which were struck out several months ago with President Trump’s signature despite rampant public outcry. The bill, A.B. 375, is titled the California Broadband Internet Privacy Act. As the Chair of the California Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection, Assemblymember Chau felt obligated to bring internet privacy back to his state. He commented:
“The idea that a person should have some say about how their internet service provider can use, share or sell their personal information is not a controversial question for everyday consumers – it is common sense. California is going to restore what Washington stripped away.”
California isn’t the first state to do this, and it certainly won’t be the last. On the other side of the country, in New York, there is a bipartisan push for an internet privacy law. Similarly, Massachusetts, Washington, Nevada, New Jersey, and Montana have taken internet privacy into their own hands as protections fell away at the federal level.
California internet privacy bill, A.B. 375, introduced
The bill, A.B. 375, is gaining national attention as big name electronic civil liberties groups have thrown their weight behind the bill. Notably, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Consumer Federation of California. San Francisco’s mayor has even thrown his support behind this bill. Richard Holober, the executive director of the Consumer Federation of California voiced his support:
“It’s based on a simple demand of the people: Ask me first before you use or share my personal information.”
Some of the key provisions in the bill include:
- Puts consumers in control of their personal information by prohibiting an Internet Service Provider (ISP) from using, disclosing, selling or permitting access to consumer data, except as required to provide the internet connection for which consumers have subscribed.
- Broadly protects customer personal information, including name, address, email address, financial, health, and geolocation information, online activities and web browsing history.
- Prohibits ISPs from charging a consumer more for privacy protection or offering a discount for approving privacy invasion.
- Requires that the mechanism for obtaining and revoking a consumer’s information sharing consent shall be clear and conspicuous, not misleading, and persistently available at no additional cost.
- Grants consumers the right to opt-out of allowing the provider to use personal information for marketing of its own communications-related services
If you are a Californian constituent and would like to do your part in making sure this bill passes, the Consumer Federation of California has a new site (onlineprivacynow.com) that will allow you to contact your local representatives and tell them to vote for A.B. 375.