LOS ANGELES, Dec. 20, 2018 – Facebook’s latest revealed privacy invasion could have been thwarted if the landmark California Consumer Privacy Act were in effect and the strong state law must not be preempted by weak federal privacy laws, Consumer Watchdog said today.

For years, the New York Times reported this week, Facebook gave some of the world’s largest technology companies more intrusive access to users’ personal data than it disclosed. Companies like Microsoft, Netflix and Spotify got special access to Facebook users’ data without anyone else knowing, the Times said.

If the law were in effect, the California Consumer Privacy Act would have required Facebook to tell users what data the social networking giant had collected about them when people asked.  They could then have told Facebook not to share it. The privacy law takes effect in 2020.

“If the California Consumer Privacy Act were already in effect, consumers would have a powerful tool to stop Facebook’s ongoing privacy abuses.  You could ask what they had and told them to stop sharing it,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy and Technology Project director. “We need tough laws, including the right for consumers to take an internet company to court when these tech giants put our data at risk. The California Consumer Privacy Act created that protection, and lawmakers should protect it from attacks by companies like Google and Facebook who want federal laws to overturn it.”

Businesses are already working to weaken the California law. California Legislators must resist those efforts, Consumer Watchdog said. At the federal level, Congress should not bow to pressure by business and tech companies to enact a weak national law to preempt stronger state protections, Consumer Watchdog said.

The California Consumer Protection Act is the strongest privacy law in the nation.  It would, for instance, allow a private right of action – though with some limits — in data breach cases.  No such right currently exists. The law ensures:

  • The right of Californians to know what personal information is being collected about them.
  • The right of Californians to know whether their personal information is sold or disclosed and to whom.
  • The right of Californians to say no to the sharing or sale of personal information.
  • The right of Californians to access their personal information.
  •  The right of Californians to equal service and price, even if they exercise their privacy rights.
  • That businesses cannot sell personal information of consumers under the age of 16 without explicit consent.

Currently, the California attorney general is drafting regulations to implement the California Consumer Privacy Act. As part of the process people can provide comments on the CCPA rulemaking at any of the forums listed below, or by submitting written comments to privacyregulations@doj.ca.gov or by mail at California Department of Justice, ATTN: Privacy Regulations Coordinator, 300 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90013.

San Francisco 

WHEN: Tuesday, January 8, 2019, 10 AM – 1 PM
WHERE: Milton Marks Conference Center, 455 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102

San Diego
WHEN: Monday, January 14, 2019, 10 AM – 1 PM
WHERE: California State University, San Marcos, 333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Rd., San Marcos, CA 92096

Inland Empire/Riverside
WHEN: Thursday, January 24, 2019, 10 AM – 1 PM
WHERE: Cesar Chavez Community Center, 2060 University Ave., Riverside, CA 92507

Los Angeles
WHEN: Friday, January 25, 2019, 10 AM – 1 PM
WHERE: Ronald Reagan Building, 300 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90013

WHEN: Tuesday, February 5, 2019, 10 AM – 1 PM
WHERE: California State Building, 1500 Capitol Ave., Sacramento, CA 95814

WHEN: Wednesday, February 13, 2019, 10 AM – 1 PM
WHERE:  California State Building, 2550 Mariposa Mall, Room 1036, Fresno, CA 93721


Visit our website at www.consumerwatchdog.org