California Legislature Passes Delete Act to Give Consumers Control Over Their Personal Data
The California State Legislature has recently passed Senate Bill 362, also known as the Delete Act, which aims to provide consumers with more control over their personal information collected by data brokers. This legislation is designed to streamline the process of requesting the deletion of personal data and enhance privacy protection for Californians.
The bill, which was initially approved by the California Senate on May 31, underwent amendments from the Assembly on September 13 before finally clearing the legislature with Senate concurrence on September 14, the last day of the 2023 legislative session. Now, it awaits the signature of Governor Gavin Newsom, though it remains uncertain whether he will sign it before the October 14 deadline.
The Delete Act empowers the California Privacy Protection Agency (CPPA) to develop a system by 2026 that allows residents to make a single data deletion request across nearly 500 registered data brokers operating in the state. The CPPA would also be responsible for enforcing various provisions of the Delete Act, such as mandatory data broker registration and the requirement for brokers to delete an individual’s personal information every 45 days upon receiving a verified request.
This bill represents a significant step in granting consumers more authority over their aggregated personal information, which is often collected by data brokers and sold for profit. However, there are concerns raised by skeptics and members of the digital advertising industry. Some argue that the Delete Act may burden businesses and potentially make California consumers more susceptible to cyber threats.
Critics contend that businesses must quickly adapt their operations and technical infrastructure to comply with various privacy laws, including the Delete Act. The interpretation of these laws may vary, resulting in additional expenses for companies as they adjust to future regulations and regulatory guidance.
State Senator Josh Becker, the original sponsor of the Delete Act, believes that this legislation is vital for Californians to have control over who has access to their personal information and how it is used. He asserts that data brokers gather extensive dossiers on individuals, including sensitive information like reproductive healthcare and geolocation, which they then sell to the highest bidder.
Supporters of the Delete Act, like Tom Kemp, the author and director of Au Kemp Ventures, argue that in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, it is crucial to codify Californians’ right to request the deletion of personal information obtained by data brokers. This would help protect their privacy, especially given concerns about the potential misuse of data in the era of generative AI.
However, opponents contend that the Delete Act may harm both consumers and businesses. The Association of National Advertisers warns that the legislation could lead to mass deletion of vital data that fuels California’s digital economy. They argue that it may create pay-to-play deletion schemes, costing consumers hundreds of dollars annually for deletion services.
There are also concerns about the implementation of the deletion request system proposed by the Delete Act. Critics argue that it could be complex and costly, potentially overwhelming the CPPA’s budget and hinder Californians’ ability to verify their identities. They highlight the importance of a robust data marketplace for preventing fraud, supporting small businesses, empowering non-profits, and enabling government agencies to allocate resources effectively.
Despite the debate surrounding the Delete Act, the California Legislature believes that it strikes a balance between empowering consumers and ensuring the smooth functioning of businesses. While proponents advocate for increased privacy and control over personal data, opponents raise valid concerns about potential consequences and the impact on the digital economy.
If signed into law, the Delete Act will significantly shape the landscape of data privacy in California, giving individuals more agency over their personal information and holding data brokers accountable for responsible data management. The bill awaits Governor Newsom’s decision, which will determine whether it becomes law and sets a precedent for privacy protection across the state.
1. CBS News: [Insert hyperlink]
2. California Privacy Protection Agency: [Insert hyperlink]
3. Kelley Drye & Warren: [Insert hyperlink]
4. Senator Josh Becker: [Insert hyperlink]
5. Association of National Advertisers: [Insert hyperlink]
6. Au Kemp Ventures: [Insert hyperlink]