Actions in California this past year led by a real estate developer named Alastair Mactaggart have the potential to change the privacy game in the United States as a whole. I have included the legislation as an embedded pdf below, and you can link to the California government site here to read the legislation as well.
NPR wrote an article on this topic, and quoted Mactaggart.
“These giant corporations know absolutely everything about you, and you have no rights,” he said in an interview earlier this week outside the state Capitol. “I thought, oh, I’d like to find out about what these companies know about me. Then I thought, well, someone should do something about that.”NPR – Heard on Morning Edition Quoting Alastair Mactaggart
Eventually, Mactaggart decided, “maybe I’m someone.”
The fact that Mr. Mactaggart was able to get the legislative support to push past the tech giants and others attempting to block this measure is no small feat. Now the big thing to watch for is how this drives the national policy makers. The US business market is at a real risk of patchwork privacy regulations, and the California laws could be the first in a series of dominoes that represent recognition of consumers right to own their information. As states grapple with this reality, and build on the European GDPR model and now the California laws, the national government ignores this pending wave of regulation at both its own peril, and the peril of the US business economy.
I encourage you to read the California legislation and think about the impact to your life, and the business you conduct. I work in a large international corporation, and as a part of that, GDPR has become very real for myself and my teams. While privacy should always be a primary concern, this is an opportunity to join the discussion and embrace the fact that regulation is coming, and rather than wait or ignore it, when possible make our voices heard in support of national level legislation. Localized and state level variations in regulations that impact business across state lines is costly and complicated to comply with and to enforce. A comprehensive national approach modeling on the learnings of our EU colleagues and now the California legislation, is our best bet for stability through this transition process.