New ballot initiative could mean big changes to CCPA

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Although the California Attorney General has only had the authority to enforce the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) since July 1, 2020, it could be overhauled by a new privacy law that qualified for the 2020 November ballot in California.

The group that first formulated the CCPA as a ballot initiative in 2018, Californians for Consumer Privacy, qualified a ballot measure titled “Consumer Personal Information Law and Agency Initiative” that will be presented as Proposition 24. If approved, the law would impose additional requirements within the framework of the CCPA and would create an agency dedicated to enforcing consumer privacy law.

Proposition 24 would require qualifying businesses to do all of the following:

  • not share a consumer's personal information upon the consumer's request
  • provide consumers with an opt-out option for having their sensitive personal information, as defined in law, used or disclosed for advertising or marketing
  • obtain permission before collecting data from consumers who are younger than 16
  • obtain permission from a parent or guardian before collecting data from consumers who are younger than 13
  • correct a consumer's inaccurate personal information upon the consumer's request

In addition, Proposition 24 would establish the California Privacy Protection Agency that would have the administrative power, authority, and jurisdiction to implement and enforce the consumer data law. Currently only the California Attorney General has this authority, and the 2018 CCPA did not provide any additional funding for the AG’s office to carry out this authority.

The new Agency would be governed by a five-member board, with the chair appointed by the governor. The remaining four members would be appointed by the governor, attorney general, Senate Rules Committee, and speaker of the assembly. Proposition 24 would require the legislature to appropriate $10,000 million to the CPPA during each fiscal year.

To guard against later amendments that limit the law’s application, the Act permits amendments by majority vote in each house of the California Legislature and signed by the governor; however, such amendments must be “consistent with and further the purpose and intent of this Act as set forth in Section 3.” Effectively that means that the legislature would be unable to loosen restrictions passed by the voters, meaning that this fall will be an important battle for California businesses.