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New privacy initiative filed — targeted ads in the crosshairs

In 2018, the legislature hastily passed a comprehensive privacy law known as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in an attempt to persuade the author of a more draconian privacy initiative that he should withdraw his proposal from the ballot.

That author, Alastair Mactaggart, is back with a new initiative that would all but eliminate behavioral or targeted advertising, overhaul enforcement of the CCPA, add new consumer protections and make it harder for industry to weaken the law in the Legislature.

MacTaggert says did not file the initiative as leverage to broker a legislative deal like in 2018, but rather he intends to pursue the initiative with voters.

The new ballot initiative, if approved, would allow the Legislature to make changes with a simple-majority vote, but only those made to further the purpose of the law.

The initiative also would:

  • Create a new state agency to enforce the Privacy Act, currently enforced by the Attorney General. The new entity, the California Privacy Protection Agency, would enforce the law and provide guidance to industry.
  • Triple penalties for the violation of children’s privacy under the act.
  • Create new rights around the use of sensitive personal information, including race, financial data and geolocation.
  • Require companies to disclose more details about algorithms used in decisions about employment, housing and credit, and to disclose whether and how they use personal information to influence elections.

MacTaggert must gather 623,212 valid signatures to qualify the initiatives for the November 2020 ballot.

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