California Voters Overwhelmingly Support Stronger Consumer Privacy Protections, New Data Shows

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(From Press Release) – New polling released today shows that Californians from all walks of life and all parts of the state support legislation to strengthen consumer privacy protections. Across race, gender, party, and regional lines, 90% of likely California voters want to require companies to do more to protect their personal information. (Read the polling results.)

“California voters clearly want increased protections that hold tech companies accountable,” said Jacob Snow, Technology and Civil Liberties Attorney with the ACLU of California. “Meanwhile, tech companies are trying to undermine existing law. The question is: will California lawmakers side with their constituents or with companies putting profits before privacy?”

This new information comes at a time when the tech industry continues to lobby the California legislature to rollback existing consumer privacy protections. Privacy for All (AB 1760) will strengthen the 2018 California Consumer Privacy Act and properly protect Californians’ privacy, safety, and financial security in the digital world.

Highlights from the poll:

  • 94% of likely voters support new laws that require companies to get permission before they share personal information, and that give Californians the right to know what personal information has been collected and with whom it has been shared.
  • 9 in 10 likely voters agree that even if they don’t pay money for products like Google, Facebook or Twitter, they should have a right to privacy and their personal information should only be shared with permission.
  • 89% of likely voters say tech companies need to take additional steps to protect personal information.

“There aren’t many things 90% of Californians agree on, but stronger protections for our personal information is one of them,” Snow said, “For far too long, tech companies have been reckless with our personal information. Californians have had enough, and they want privacy for all.”

When laws don’t make sure that companies protect our personal information, the result is disasters like Cambridge Analytica, numerous massive data breaches, and online discrimination. Online privacy violations have a disparate impact on the most vulnerable Californians, including people of color, immigrants, and seniors. Examples of these violations include:

  • Facebook allowed advertisers on the platform to exclude Black and Latino “ethnic affinity” users from seeing information about housing, employment, and credit; Google ads for high paying jobs were shown disproportionately to men rather than women.
  • Major social media companies shared data that enabled surveillance of Black Lives Matter and immigrants’ rights activists.
  • Vulnerable women, children, and seniors have been targeted:
    1. Data brokers have compiled and sold lists of rape survivors and seniors with dementia, putting them at increased risk of fraud and scams.
    2. Facebook prompted users as young as 13 to install an app to track their habits, and that gave the company access to everything their phone sent or received over the internet.

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