Brown signed the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 on Thursday, hours after its unanimous approval by the State Assembly and Senate. They will also have the right to direct companies to delete their information and not to sell it.
Laws originating in the legislature instead of from ballot initiatives are easier to amend if issues arise, and even opponents in the business community characterised the legislature's version as the lesser of two evils.
Parents will have to give permission before a website, online service or mobile app directed toward children can sell the youths' user data. "When that happens next year, effective privacy protections must be included that actually protect against rampant misuse of personal information, make sure that companies cannot retaliate against Californians who exercise their privacy rights, and ensure that Californians can actually enforce their personal privacy rights".
The law will compel companies to tell customers upon request what personal data they've collected, why it was collected, and what categories of third parties have received it. The law that passed on Thursday was close enough to the ballot initiative that Alastair Mactaggart, the San Francisco real estate developer who launched the measure, agreed to withdraw it.
The new law will take effect January 1, 2020 and lawmakers say they will likely make alterations to improve the policy before that date. Facebook found itself in hot water when it was revealed that personal information of up to 87 million people worldwide was exposed.
Technology companies, many of which are headquartered in California, will likely implement the law in the rest of the country. Lawmakers said that's not the bill's intent. Though industry groups had been gearing up for an opposition to the ballot initiative, the Internet Association issued a statement saying it would not impede the bill's enactment.
The bill came to a vote in both houses Thursday. The initiative gained popular support for its strict proposals, forcing the government to pass the new law quickly before the deadline which would have forced Mactaggart to take the proposal straight to voters in the state. Bill Monning (D-Carmel) to complain during a committee hearing earlier in the week that the ballot process had been "abused by one special interest" that had now insulated itself from future taxes.
State Sen. Bob Hertzberg, a Democrat, said during a live-streamed news conference Thursday: "This is a huge step forward for California".
It's part of a last-minute deal to block a beverage industry-backed ballot measure that would make it much harder for cities and counties to raise taxes of any kind. That led some privacy advocates to warn the fight for greater consumer protection is not yet over.
"On the other hand, it will go a long way toward putting control in the hands of consumers", she said.
"While not flawless, we support (the law) and look forward to working with policymakers on an approach that protects consumers and promotes responsible innovation", Will Castleberry, Facebook's vice president of state and local public policy, said in a statement.