Capitol Alert

California takes on Trump again – on internet privacy rules

In this Feb. 25, 2014, file photo, a Samsung Galaxy S5 is demonstrated at the Mobile World Congress, the world's largest mobile phone trade show in Barcelona, Spain.
In this Feb. 25, 2014, file photo, a Samsung Galaxy S5 is demonstrated at the Mobile World Congress, the world's largest mobile phone trade show in Barcelona, Spain. AP

California lawmakers want to go their own way after the Trump administration decided to relax privacy regulations for internet service providers, such as Comcast, Verizon and AT&T.

That decision allows internet and cell companies to market personal information harvested from their customers without getting permission.

Assembly Bill 375, by Assemblyman Ed Chau, D-Arcadia, would put California at odds with the new federal administration just months into the Donald Trump presidency. It would force internet providers to get permission to sell or share private data such as a customer’s web browsing history and personal identifying information with third parties, which could use the information for targeted ads and other marketing efforts.

Internet providers track the sites customers visit and how long they stay. They also know what apps their customers use and on what devices they use them. That could potentially allow internet providers to partner with insurers to determine risk based on a customer’s browsing habits. Also, credit card companies could team up with providers to find out how likely a person is to pay their bills based on the online shopping sites they browse.

“We’re trying to give the consumer a choice,” Chau said. “Before ISPs use or share info with others they ought to ask the customer first.”

Websites that do not provide internet service, such as Bing, Amazon and Netflix, aren’t restricted by Chau’s bill.

“In most markets you only have a couple of choices,” said Consumer Federation of California Executive Director Richard Holober, explaining why service providers aren’t afforded the same privilege as websites. “There’s not much of a choice if they (ISPs) will maximize their profits by using your information.”

ISPs and their advocates counter that the bill is an overreach, and that they do not use customers’ information without permission now.

The Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee takes up Chau’s bill this morning at 9 a.m., Room 3191.

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WORTH REPEATING: “Passing this bill on a bipartisan basis is something on which Ronald Reagan ... would be proud.” – George Shultz, former secretary of state under Reagan, on the climate change bills.

CARCINOGENS IN THE WATER: The State Water Resources Control Board today will consider setting a maximum contaminant level in drinking water supplies of five parts per trillion for 1,2,3-Trichloropropane, a chemical used in pesticides. The chemical, which has been identified as possibly carcinogenic to humans, can move to groundwater aquifers through soil and has been detected in wells.

If the board approves the drinking water standard, it will then be reviewed by the Office of Administrative Law, according to Andrew DiLuccia, public information officer for the board. Once approved there, sampling of water for 1,2,3-Trichloropropane is projected to begin in January 2018.

Today’s meeting is open to the public and begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Cal/EPA Building’s Coastal Hearing Room in Sacramento. It will also be live-streamed.

READY AND ABLE: The California ABLE Act Board will take comments from the public today at 10 a.m. about how best to regulate the California ABLE Program Trust, a financial savings tool for eligible people with disabilities. It enables them to maintain up to $100,000 in the trust while still receiving SSI and state-funded public benefits, and up to $475,000 and still maintain federal and partially federally funded benefits.

With State Treasurer John Chiang as chair, the board invites proposals for regulations on account enrollment, limitations on contributions and other provisions related to the program at the State Treasurer’s Office, Room 587.

MUST READ: Did Madera County supervisors break the law by secretly ordering jail cooperation with ICE?

THE FUTURE OF ENERGY: UC Davis researchers Amy Jaffe and Joan Ogden will speak today about the California’s low-carbon fuel standard, in the Cal/EPA Building’s Sierra Hearing Room. Jaffe, the executive director for Energy and Sustainability at UC Davis, and Ogden, professor of environmental science and founding director of the Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways Program at UC Davis, will discuss the cap-and-trade approach and the future of alternative fuels starting at 10 a.m.

DROUGHT RESILIENCE: The Public Policy Institute of California’s Water Policy Center is sponsoring a panel on the drought’s impacts on Bay Area cities. Regional leaders will discuss improving drought resilience in the Bay Area, and the Bay Area’s role in regional water management and innovation.

Event speakers will include Alexander Coate, general manager for the East Bay Municipal Utility District; Ken Jenkins, director of drought management and conservation from California Water Service; and John Marchand, mayor of Livermore. Register here for the event, which begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Bechtel Conference Center at PPIC in San Francisco.

Hawken Miller: 916-321-1255, @HawkenMiller