California Consumer Privacy Act: legislate in haste…

The California Consumer Privacy Act, drawn up hastily to avert a threatened ballot initiative, purports to create six new categories of data-related consumer rights, “including the right to know; the right of data portability; the right to deletion; the right to opt-out of data sales; the right to not be discriminated against as a user; and a private right of action for data breaches.” Although sometimes compared to the European GDPR, the two laws are different and compliance with the one enactment (which has been immensely expensive already) does not accomplish compliance with the other. Expect uncertainty, fines, the California specialty of entrepreneurial class-action litigation, and more tilting of compliance cost structures to the benefit of tech companies and advertising intermediaries big enough to afford to spread the high expense over large revenue streams [Alec Stapp, Truth on the Market; more: Al Saikali, Washington Legal Foundation; Petrina McDaniel, Elliot Golding and Keshia Lipscomb, Squire Patton Boggs]


  • Some points

    1. This law is probably better than the initiative would have been.
    2. The law can (and probably should) be changed.
    3. This law is the result of the legislature doing nothing and businesses pissing off the legislators’ constituents. Backlash laws suck for everyone, as they generally go too far one way or the other. For example, one day, we might actually revoke the 2nd amendment, or parts of it, if gun owners don’t support measures that actually reduce violence. Is that good? Probably not. But the decision not to bend a bit destroys oak trees, while more flexible plants survive.
    4. For businesses, generally, what the law is does not matter that much. What matters is that the law is stable. Businesses will figure out how to make money no matter what the rules are.
    5. Inflexibility is how we got Donald Trump as president (some think that is a good thing). It is also how Russia got the Bolsheviks.

    • ” For example, one day, we might actually revoke the 2nd amendment, or parts of it, if gun owners don’t support measures that actually reduce violence.”

      Gun control proponents don’t support measures that might actually reduce violence.

      • The game I play every time a knee-jerk, anti-gun bill is proposed in the aftermath of some tragedy: if that bill were in place before the event, would it have affected the outcome? Predictably, the usual answer is “no,” whether because the guns were stolen (so background checks wouldn’t have mattered), because a handgun was used and the proposal is to ban certain types of rifles, because it was already illegal to have a gun in that place, or similar.

        My “favorite” instance was several years back, when one of those states like CA or NJ, banned private ownership of .50 BMG rifles. At the time? There were no recorded instances of such rifles having ever been used in a violent crime in the US. Mostly because they’re heavy, they cost in the neighborhood of $10k each, and each bullet costs several dollars. But, they’re scary, so they were banned.

        • But, but….BMG = Browning Machine Gun. Machine gun, people shouldn’t have machine guns! 🙂