Proposition 24- CA Ballot Measures Series

*****Disclaimer: This is not legal advice and is for educational purposes only. This does not create an attorney-client privilege.

We are in another election year and it is (nearly past) time to start considering not only who you want to vote for as president and to represent you regionally, but also to start doing your research on the measures on the California State Ballot this year. Or alternatively, you can follow this series of blog posts to get a summary of what's at stake with each measure, who is in support of and opposed to it, and a progressive's guide on checking No or Yes.

Proposition 24 is a measure to amend consumer privacy laws. This bill is described as essentially permitting consumers to prohibit businesses from sharing their personal information, correct inaccurate information, and limit businesses own use of “more sensitive personal information”. This could include race, ethnicity, precise geolocations, and health information. It would also, vaguely, establish a “California Privacy Protection Agency”.

The fiscal impact of these changes would include increased yearly state costs of a minimum of $10 million. But it would be unlikely to exceed the low tens of millions of dollars in cost. This cost is said to go to expanding consumer privacy protections and some of the costs are projected to be offset by financial penalties for businesses violating these regulations.

While the idea of this bill, protecting the right of California residents to privacy, sounds good, there are some definite concerns with this proposition. The most glaring of which is that this proposition could likely have the exact opposite effect! Though it is said to increase privacy protections, the reality is that the right to privacy would be less guaranteed. The measure would allow for “pay for privacy” schemes. Essentially, instead of protecting your right to privacy, it is making sure you have to pay for it. This would clearly be a problem that disproportionately burdens those of a lower income.

It is also very vague. Consumers would have to wait years to find out exactly what confidential information employers can collect on them and isn't clear on what exactly entails sensitive information. It would cost tens of millions, yet it would be very ineffective because of its terms. And it would ultimately make it easier for tech giants to sell your information. If you need any more reason to vote NO on Prop24, you should know that it was written behind closed doors with the input of social media giants. This measure is not one that came from the demands or needs of the people.

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