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California Privacy Law Passes Senate Committee, Heads to Senate Floor

AB 375 clears Judiciary committee and will move to Senate Appropriations before Senate Floor vote on Thursday

A comprehensive internet privacy and data breach protection bill introduced by Senators Bill Dodd, D-Napa, Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys and Assemblymember Ed Chau, D-Monterey Park, cleared the Senate Judiciary committee Tuesday by a 5-0 vote and heads to the Senate Appropriations committee. Assembly Bill 375 is now on track to reach both the Senate and Assembly floors on Thursday, helping to avoid a costly ballot measure on the same subject.

“At a time when federal regulators are rolling back protections, we’re moving forward here in California,” Senator Dodd said. “This bill will be the strongest of its kind in the nation and enact safeguards we need in the 21st Century. It includes provisions from a measure I introduced earlier to give consumers recourse in the event of future breaches, providing a strong incentive for firms to act responsibly. Big Data is Big Business. It’s time we regulate it appropriately and hold bad actors accountable.”

Recent data breaches that affected millions – those experienced by Target, Equifax, Cambridge Analytica, and many more – have raised concerns from internet users around the world. The continued prevalence of such occurrences and uncertainty about what data is being collected has drawn the ire of consumer and public interest groups.

With this in mind, Senators Dodd and Hertzberg and Assemblymember Chau introduced legislation to expand the rights of consumers to know what data is being collected about them online, and even to delete it. The bill would also empower consumers to decline the sale of their information and report violations, which must then be addressed by the violator or risk civil action. It includes protections from Dodd’s existing bill, Senate Bill 1121.

“If this law passes, it will be the best privacy law in the country,” said Sen. Hertzberg. “It integrates many of the elements of the initiative and provides Californians with significantly more control over personal information alongside an explicit protection of those rights. I am very happy with the work that has been done on this by my co-authors, our staffs, and the many stakeholders engaged in this process.”

“Today’s action by the Senate Judiciary Committee to vote in support of AB 375 gets us one step closer to passing landmark privacy legislation that will put consumers in the driver’s seat when it comes to making decisions about the use of their personal information by businesses online,” said Asm. Chau, who is also Chair of the Assembly Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection. His committee will hold an informational hearing about AB 375 on Wednesday, June 27 at 1:30pm.

AB 375 is similar to the ballot initiative on the same subject championed by Alastair Mactaggart, who has agreed to pull his initiative if AB 375 passes by the June 28 deadline. Some provisions in AB 375 would give more privacy protection to consumers than the ballot initiative.

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Senator Bill Dodd represents California’s 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Solano, Napa, Sonoma, Yolo, Sacramento, and Contra Costa counties. You can learn more about Senator Dodd at www.sen.ca.gov/dodd.