Why Proposition 24 is Bad for Individual Privacy
Proposition 24 (“Prop 24”), a dense 53-page piece of legislation on the ballot in California, is igniting controversy. While it aims to embolden current data privacy laws, in its application, Prop 24 will achieve the opposite effect. Prop 24 claims to expand the 2019 California Consumer Privacy Act (the “CCPA”), the first statewide privacy law giving consumers control over their data. The CCPA unequivocally requires companies to give the consumer more power and access to their data. Worldwide, corporations and small businesses alike worked to comply by the CCPA’s enforcement date, January 1, 2020.
Not even in effect for a year, Prop 24 changes the CCPA’s fundamental features, jeopardizing past efforts. Privacy advocates and organizations, such as the EFF and ACLU, strongly oppose it. They claim it goes backwards and weakens any progress that the CCPA set out to achieve. So does Prop 24 actually strengthen privacy rights or does it only pretend?
Consumers either opt-in to data collection or pay to opt-out.
Prop 24 undermines the CCPA because it creates a “Pay for Privacy” scheme that disproportionately affects minorities and struggling communities. The CCPA requires companies to provide a clear method for individuals to control their data. It also lets consumers assert that control for free without any prejudice. However, Prop 24 gives companies a loophole and shifts the compliance effort to the consumer. Prop 24 features a questionable exception. It allows companies to charge consumers more for the same service, if they choose to opt-out of data collection. Ultimately, Prop 24 has a discriminatory effect for consumers who simply cannot afford it. Privacy is a fundamental right. It should not just be available for those who can pay to opt-out of data collection.
Prop 24 threatens newly-enacted CCPA protections.
If California enacts Prop 24, companies can add hurdles to the consumer opt-out and deletion process. For example, companies can make it harder for a consumer to access their data or to delete it. Under the CCPA, companies must provide a universal opt-out method that is easy and conspicuous. But, Prop 24 allows companies to make the process harder. Companies can require consumers to manually opt-out of all systems and applications connected to the initial website by themselves. Companies do not have to make this method simple under Prop 24. This simultaneously decreases transparency and threatens the clear dynamics outlined in the CCPA.
Prop 24 creates barriers to individual privacy.
Ultimately, Prop 24 doesn’t reinforce individual privacy because it gives exceptions for entities interested in loosening individual privacy protections. Prop 24 will not only delay current enforcement efforts but it will also create more barriers for individuals privacy. In this digital age, consumers should be able to assert more autonomy over their own data without further undue hardship.