Confusion abounds as California’s online privacy law kicks in

This is a Wikimedia Commons photo of the Googleplex corporate headquarters in Mountain View.

Enacted in 2018 over the vigorous objections of Silicon Valley tech giants, California’s first-in-the-nation online privacy law took effect Jan. 1, 2020. But with the staff of state Attorney General Xavier Becerra still far short of finalizing an enforcement framework, it’s unclear what effect the California Consumer Privacy Act will have in the short term.

The law’s most important provisions appear straightforward. Californians can ask companies which collect information online what information they have on them. Companies must delete this information upon request. Websites with third-party trackers must make it easy for consumers to opt out of having their information sold by having a visible button allowing them to quickly do so on their home pages.

But echoing the warnings of the California Chamber of Commerce, there’s confusion on how much information companies can retain on their customers – as opposed to information on those who have visited websites or use phone applications. There are also questions about what constitutes the sort of data that consumers should be able to control.

Facebook, Google have different view of law’s scope

“Companies have different interpretations, and depending on which lawyer they are using, they’re going to get different advice,” privacy software executive Kabir Barday told the New York Times.

This is plain in the contrasting plans of California’s two most high-profile tech firms.

Facebook told advertisers in early December that it had no plans to change data-collection policies because it doesn’t believe that “routine data transfers” about consumers fit the definition of selling data contained in the California law, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Google, however, has put up a website that says the company welcomes the California law and will fully adhere to its intent of letting consumers control their personal data. The company is telling advertisers that consumer data can only be used for fraud detection or to measure online views of ads – and never to try to ascertain the buying habits or product searches of individuals.

Meanwhile, the Experian credit-reporting service told Becerra’s office that it strongly objected to having to provide consumers with “internally generated data” about them, arguing that such information is proprietary and isn’t akin to snooping on individuals’ online search habits and histories.

The Evite company that lets people send out personalized online invitations to parties or events has taken a different tack: using its privacy policy page to make the case to users that the information it collects is used in benign ways that benefit users and improves the services Evite offers.

The law does not apply to businesses with annual revenue of less than $25 million that do not buy or sell personal information on at least 50,000 people a year.

Becerra expects to have guidelines finished by summer

Becerra issued draft guidelines for how the law would be implemented in October. His office is now evaluating the complaints and comments it got from privacy activists, affected companies and others. The goal is to have the regulations in place by the middle of the year.

A key question going forward is how hard Becerra will come down on the 100-plus “data broker” firms in the U.S. which accumulate and sell the most personal of information yet have managed to escape much attention. An investigation posted by the Fast Company media website last March detailed how “if you use a smartphone or a credit card, it’s not difficult for a company to determine if you’ve just gone through a break-up, if you’re pregnant or trying to lose weight, whether you’re an extrovert [and] what medicine you take.” Jewelry sellers, for example, can get customized lists of which consumers have a history of buying expensive gifts on Valentine’s Day.

The firms’ ability to provide such detailed, specific information could be widely curtailed if enough consumers opt out of sharing their personal information – at least if they’re based in California or a state or nation with similar rules. But since such data mining can be done about Americans by companies based in nations with no such rules, it’s certain to continue. A likely future policy fight is over whether California companies should be banned from obtaining such personal information from firms that don’t honor online privacy laws like the Golden State’s.

7 comments

Write a comment
  1. Queeg
    Queeg 2 January, 2020, 13:08

    Comrades

    They know…..

    they always will know…..

    wear a tony lead suit….

    – and clean socks/shorts…..

    Reply this comment
  2. Sean
    Sean 2 January, 2020, 15:57

    What’s going to happen with the DNA and ancestry companies? I recall reading a few years back about DNA screening of people who get arrested leading to identities of relatives that may have committed crimes. How well protected are the DNA results that people pay for?
    Oh, and that expensive gift purchased on Valentine’s day, the NY Times had an article on jewelry purchases on Valentines a few years back. Turns out men who are cheating on their wives lay low with their mistresses over the Christmas and New Years holidays to be with family but make up for it on Feb. 14th. Divorce lawyers could data mine that for clients.

    Reply this comment
  3. Kurtis
    Kurtis 2 January, 2020, 22:47

    A BUSINESS IDEA PERHAPS THE BEST SINCR CRAYONS FIRST MELTED ON SUMMER SIDEWALKS
    GREOWTH IN NEW MARKET IS KEY…

    Reply this comment
  4. Pinoy tambayan
    Pinoy tambayan 10 January, 2020, 09:03

    What will you say about Facebook as they have accepted that they leaked the data?

    Reply this comment
  5. edryan221
    edryan221 11 January, 2020, 23:16

    LA City Attorney culpability LA City Hall Pay for Play Culture I’m Ed Ryan and I’m Running for Mayor of LA in 2022. The “The Committee to Elect Ed Ryan Mayor of LA Election” is being organized. Our Campaign takes no donations whatsoever from any business interest period. We are allowing Emporium Productions to film a Documentary by following my “Outsider” bid for the 2022 LA Mayor seat. Is this considered an in-kind donation. If so, I will file per guidelines of your office. However, because of corruption conflicts on two levels., is there an independent County or State ethics Commission that can be utilized so this campaign can operate free from the LA City Hall corruption. I am concerned about LA City Hall corruption
    because Mayor Garcetti and most City Councilors engage with “Pay for Play” with real estate developers only ‘Luxury Housing” is being built during a time of great need for more affordable housing. I see that the LA City Attorney has failed to draft any ordinance to prohibit LA City Council and LA Mayor ‘Pay for Play” Nor has the LA City Attorney done any investigations of LA City Hall “Pay for Play” for criminal prosecution even though Hollywood Work Shop Actor “Pay for Play” was investigated with under-cover investigation. The fact the LA City Attorney has ability to do Pay for Play under-cover investigation but protects LA City Hall ‘Pay for Play”, your office is directly contributing to the Los Angeles Affordable housing shortage. I bring these issues up because the good people of LA deserve better than corrupt elected officials ,making “Pay for Play” deal that have so much to do with the fact that LA does not have enough affordable housing, and people are living as homeless.
    [email protected] mf twitter handle
    LAmayorRYAN2022 also can be used to reach me. Thanks for your consideration.
    Sincerely,
    Ed Ryan, 1/11/2020

    Reply this comment
  6. Queeg
    Queeg 12 January, 2020, 16:13

    Comrades

    Do we deserve this?

    What did we do?

    Reply this comment
  7. edryan221
    edryan221 15 January, 2020, 22:34

    Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Candidate For the Democratic Nomination to Run for President of the United States against President Trump, is in Los Angeles campaigning for the California Presidential Primary on Super Tuesday being ask to review the LAPD Crimebuster Vigilante Complaint and to Ask Attorney General Becerra, to fully investigate the issues raised in the complaint. LA Political Activist and Candidate for Mayor of Los Angeles 2022, Ed Ryan is Considering which Democratic Presidential candidate to Indorse. Ed Ryan is the outsider and anti- corruption Candidate for Mayor of LA. Ryan believes his endorsement will be considered as important by an the people of Los Angeles who are sick and tired and totally fed up with LA Political corruption that has deprived them, among other things of their constitutional right to vote on and decide the form of city government system they want in LA, including a format that increases the size of the LA City Counsel to 40 counselors from 40 LA districts. In April of 2015, Ryan, a former lawyer and political activist for local democracy was engaged in organizing the effort to placed a question on the ballot. While doing this, Ryan was stymied by LAPD Vigilantes engaged in unrelenting Community Stalking or Gang Stalking by crews very similar to the LAPD Crimebuster Vigilantes exposed in the 8/1/18 Complaint to California Attorney General. Ryan was repeatedly jailed when he fought back against this vigilante harassment.
    Here in LA Bernie Sanders is focused on door-to-door campaigning on the ground. I’m Ed Ryan Candidate for Mayor of LA 2022, and I’m contacting the Candidates who are coming to LA for the California Super Tuesday Presidential Primary. Please respond after reading my statement so I consider which candidate I will endorse to the good people of LA. I am a good- government anti-corruption candidate who has been repeatedly wrongfully incarcerated since 2015 when I began organizing LA City Charter reform to increase the Size of The LA City Council to 40 by district. Increasing the size of the LA City Council is the right thing to do as LA has over a million voters and those voters deserve the constitutional rights of representative democracy that were granted to both NYC and Chicago over a decades ago. Those two other cities have thrived as a result Voter participation is way up and corruption way down. Every corner of the cities once forgotten neighborhoods now are getting much better services. Even economic development has increased as a result of good clean representative democracy. Yes the people of LA would surely vote yes for such charter reform , but forces like the LA Times and The LAPD and the present LA elected officials prevent the voters from enjoying their constitutional right to vote in the system of local government they want. So that cleansing power of local democracy could end the LA City Hall Pay for Play Corruption that caused the lack of affordable housing here in LA. Also, the Corruption of the LAPD doing the Crimebuster Vigilante Hate Crime onto LA Homeless and Political Advocates like me, had to be challenged.
    Buttigieg has traveled to California regularly to attend high-dollar fundraisers with stars of Hollywood and the tech industry but has only more recently been coupling that with public events. His campaign sees an opportunity for him to do well in the state’s Central Valley, an agricultural region that they believe will respond to Buttigieg’s Midwestern roots. Buttigieg should read the Vigilante and LAPD Facebook postings in the 8/1/18 WRAP complaint that has been with California Attorney General Becerra for almost 2 years. Buttigieg will see the Hate Crimes and Crimes of violence the LAPD Crimebuster vigilantes were doing to the homeless and to the LA political advocates who threatened the grip on LA political power controlled by the LAPD Brass. Expanding the LA City Council to Allow the People of LA the rights of represented democracy that were granted to voters in NYC and Chicago is exactly the type of political advocacy the LAPD did not want. The present Mayor and 15-member city engaged in routine Pay for Play with Luxury housing Landlords and Bankers and never did the police department oversight they were supposed to do. LA City Attorney Mike Feuer has A Deputy Prosecutor who is a member of the Vigilante Facebook group in West Hills. The LA City Attorney most likely has multiple other LA City Deputy Prosecutors or LA Neighborhood Prosecutors in the other 10 Crimebuster Facebook groups Across Los Angeles. Because Attorney General Becerra is Refusing to investigate the Crimebuster Vigilante complaint with his office now since 8/1/18. the public does not know facts like that they need to know. It looks like Attorney General Becerra is covering up the racist hate crime onto the LA homeless population. It is very important to know if Feuer, a LA City Attorney who his now under FBI investigation for extortion, has done across LA what we see he has done with Karine Philips, the Topanga Neighborhood Prosecutor. She was reported as an active member of the Westhill vigilante group worked with LAPD SLO Dines. Together Dinse and Philips used the LAPD Crimebuster vigilante group to Prosecute a targeted mentally ill San Fernando Valley Political Activist who ran a huge anti-vigilante and anti-gang stalk or community stalking Web site. Kevin Perelman web site often focused on the SLO Dines for Dinse’s involvement with LAPD Crimebuster Vigilante Community Stalking ring that constantly harassed him. In Fact on Page 28 of the complaint with Attorney General Becerra, the Vigilante Facebook Posting that was intercepted by screenshot of a group infiltrator, and made part of the complaint, shows LAPD SLO Dines working with fellow crime buster vigilante group member, MS Fishman, organizing a gang stalk of Kevin Perelman as he leaves from court. Perelman was just arraigned on a littering charge by the vigilante group member neighborhood prosecutor. SLO Dines posing tells the story of a crew of vigilante stalkers getting ready or in place to community stalk or gang stalk Perelman who is leaving the courthouse. Fishman responds with a message indicating she is in a vehicle that is hovering near Perelman’s vehicle. She posts that she has just seen Perelman’s cars and tells the location and describes the car as being covered so that other gang stalk crew members will know where to go and what to look for. A third posting from another vigilante wants the Plate number on Perelman’s car. These Crime-buster vigilantes are gang-stalking. Many of the other postings also have Crimebuster vigilantes engaged in gang stalking. Read the Facebook posting dialog and see the posting vigilante as they are working with multiple other vigilantes and communicating locations and descriptions of homeless targeted for gang stalk harassment. The posting of Fern Peskin-White, a crime buster vigilante leader and vicious gang stalker has her posting that she has followed a bus with a targeted homeless couple. When the targets got off at the hospital, Peskin- White went into the emergency room and spoke with health workers sympathetic to vigilante gang stalkers and black-balled the couple from emergency room services.
    Bottom line Attorney General Becerra is doing no investigation after nearly 2 years. Becerra is trying to snuff out the investigation by silence. This is the same tactic used by LA Mayor Garcetti, who totally refused to say one word about the published complaint showing Facebook postings of his LAPD police department engaged in hate crimes and crimes of violence onto LA homeless victims. Mayor Garcetti refuses to say one word as the strategy is to kill the complaint by silence. It is amazing the LA Times does not Ask Mayor Garcetti why he is being totally silent on the Crimebuster Vigilante complaint. But no reporting like this by the LA Times because, for some reason the LA Times does not want to report the truth on this ugly corruption matter.
    Why the silence and inaction.? Because any legitimate investigation will expose the fact the LAPD has been supporting Vigilante Gangstalking onto the LA Homeless population for years. Many Black male victims are now incarcerated at the LA County jail. Blacks make up most LAPD Vigilante targeted victims as the homeless population in LA is 43 percent black. Thus, these racist police supported harassment is causing black males who fight back against vigilante gang stalk terror stalking are immediately arrested prosecuted by knowing LA City Attorney Neighborhood prosecutors. It is just like what happened to me when I fought back against vigilante Gang-stalkers. I was prosecuted, held for months pre-trial for criminal acts that were a self-defense response to vigilante harassment. The only way I could get released was to plea no conte4st, that is what everybody does because the alternative is to wait at least one year and maybe two for a jury trial that will be rigged against you. And once over the LA Judge, most likely corrupt and in on the whole thing will smoked you, which is jail slang for give you a heavy sentence. The LAPD Arresting officer composes a false police report that makes no mention of the vigilante’s harassment. In fact, not one LAPD police report in any arrest, of any LA street person, mentions vigilante harassment or gang stalk terror stalking. The fact that no LAPD report includes a mention of vigilante harassment proves LAPD reports intentionally do not include this very relevant information. Why, because now, with the LAPD Crimebuster minimal exposure LA knows that vigilante harassment is happening, thus, why is it not mentioned in even one LAPD police report.
    The Topanga neighborhood prosecutor Karine Philips eventually does a jury trial of Perelman in Van Nuys Superior court. The case is heard in front of Judge Hammon who is an Ex DA. He allows the prosecution to use LAPD SLO Dines, and two civilians as prosecution witness. All the witnesses are fellow members of the Crimebuster vigilante Facebook group that SLO Dines and Topanga Neighborhood prosecutor belong to. This is a Rigged jury trial. There is a question as to how the case got in front of vigilante sympathetic ex-DA Judge Hammon of Department 113 Van Nuys Superior Court. Yes, a full investigation by Attorney General Becerra would answer this and other questions. An investigation would verify if the usual case rotation system was jumped and the Prosecutor Philips was able to unethically Judge shop to get the case Infront of Hammon. If so then that is illegal corruption that need to be dealt with.
    The LAPD Crimebuster Vigilantes have totally corrupted the LA Courts and prevent the administration of justice, as there is no justice if things are fixed and prosecutors convict and incarcerate with LAPD police reports they know to be false. However, the 11/25/19 letter By LA Superior Court Assistant Presiding Judge Taylor in response to my complaint letterer of being repeatedly wrongfully incarcerated by this corrupt thing, I was totally mocked. Taylor did no real investigation if my detailed description of corruption. He told me I sounded like a disgruntle defendant who was upset with uncorrupted justice. My belief is that tailor and most any LA judge who does criminal cases in LA knows the ugly corrupt truth. And the Truth is this: if you are a person who is targeted for LAPD Vigilante hate crime terror Gang Stalking and you fight back, then you will be arrested and do months pre-tail. You will be forced to do a plea bargain to get released from the hell hole you are in. Thus, the conviction will look legitimate, but it is not. Therefore, a full investigation needs to happen. If not By Becerra then By the Federal Government, and as a candidate for President, I ask will you agree to review this, matter. And Please now, show the people of LA you have courage enough to at least ask for an investigation by California Attorney General Becerra or some other Authority. You can do this by a letter, or if you are really a good solid person who hates to see corrupt justice on this scale, issue a public statement asking California Attorney General Becerra to investigate the LAPD Crimebuster Vigilante Complaint sent by WRAP on 8/1/18.
    Finally, this, do not worry about the LA Times covering this issue, they do not. In fact, it is, “go along get along” with the LA Times and the politicians, LA Mayor Garcetti and the LAPD who don’t want any investigation or press coverage of this matter. When The Office of California Attorney General Becerra Told the LA Times Reporter Emily Reyes in August that information about the status of the complaint can not be divulged because office policy is not to “confirm or deny”, that was good enough for the LA Times , case closed. No real reporting was done, like asking Becerra himself, why he has such a ridiculous policy that makes it impossible to confirm the truth of what is being done. And the truth is this, nothing will be done, just total silence, per order of the LAPD Brass. It looks like the LA Times may also be under the LAPD thumb, as that paper has no problem with silence from LAPD and elected leaders on this matter. In fact, Two LAPD Deputy Chiefs and an LAPD Watch Commander, along with ten regular and SLO LAPD Officers were members of the LAPD Crimebuster Vigilante Facebook Group from the West Hills section of the San Fernando Valley.
    Bottom line, there will be no investigation. Why? Because to do so is to expose a truth that is very ugly, widespread, and potentially deadly. Why? because any full investigation must look at how many victims of LAPD Vigilante terror Gang stalking committed suicide. Yes, that is the goal of this form of psychological torture. Gang Stalking or Community Stalking was designed by the Stasi East German secret police and used on political dissidents to induce suicide. Terror Gang Stalking by unknown players, whose existence is denied by regular police being all in the head of the reporting person, top me when I complained to LAPD officers. This “Gaslighting” makes one feel crazy and terrified, and when it continues unrelentingly, desperation and hopelessness works to depress and induce suicidal ideations, that are sometimes acted upon.
    Induced suicide is Manslaughter under the law, Thus, if there were suicides of homeless victims here, all those involved, from the drivers to the LAPD to the lawyers and judges etc., all can be prosecuted for conspiracy to commit manslaughter. Thus, it is no wonder that there is no real push for an investigation. But, this thing is important to me, not only because I was repeatedly victimized and jailed when I fought back, but because I try to do the right thing as a caring human being, and that is to respect all people, regardless if they are homeless. Therefore, I want a full investigation, and ask your help, Mike Bloomberg, as a public figure running for the Democratic nomination to be President of the United States. Please do the right thing and ask Becerra for a full investigation on this matter. Thanks, Ed Ryan, Mayor LA 2022.
    Contact [email protected] or Ed Ryan at 413 863 5592, 1/15/20

    Reply this comment

Write a Comment

Leave a Reply



Chris Reed

Chris Reed

Chris Reed is a regular contributor to Cal Watchdog. Reed is an editorial writer for U-T San Diego. Before joining the U-T in July 2005, he was the opinion-page columns editor and wrote the featured weekly Unspin column for The Orange County Register. Reed was on the national board of the Association of Opinion Page Editors from 2003-2005. From 2000 to 2005, Reed made more than 100 appearances as a featured news analyst on Los Angeles-area National Public Radio affiliate KPCC-FM. From 1990 to 1998, Reed was an editor, metro columnist and film critic at the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin in Ontario. Reed has a political science degree from the University of Hawaii (Hilo campus), where he edited the student newspaper, the Vulcan News, his senior year. He is on Twitter: @chrisreed99.

Related Articles

CA Legislature sends Brown microbead ban

After a roller coaster ride through the Senate, a bill enacting the nation’s toughest ban on so-called “microbeads” headed to Gov.

Rising electric rates spark CA fight

A new plan under consideration by the state Public Utilities Commission has Californians up in arms over the prospect of higher

CFT Explains Tax-Increase Strategy

MAY 26, 2011 By JOHN SEILER If you listen to people in the political game, they usually tell you what