Capitol Alert

Want to stop businesses from tracking your Internet searches? You may get to vote on it

FILE - 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. A proposed November 2018 California ballot measure would allow consumers to demand that businesses not collect information about them.
FILE - 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. A proposed November 2018 California ballot measure would allow consumers to demand that businesses not collect information about them. AP

Californians someday could tell businesses to stop tracking their Internet search habits or collecting other data under a proposed November 2018 ballot measure filed Friday and backed by a wealthy San Francisco Bay Area businessman.

The proposed California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 follows congressional action overturning internet privacy regulations. California bills to impose new anti-hacking standards for consumer goods and internet privacy rules have stalled.

Alastair Mactaggart, the former president of the Emerald Fund, a real-estate development company, has committed to financially support the effort to qualify and pass the measure, according to Robin Swanson, a Democratic strategist working on the effort.

“You should have the right to know what personal information businesses collect about you and your children and what they do with it, including how businesses use that information and who they sell it to,” the measure says. “Your decision to tell a business to stop selling your personal information or sharing it for commercial purposes should not affect the price or quality of the goods or services you receive. It is possible for businesses both to provide a high level of service and to respect your privacy.”

The measure would allow people to annually demand businesses provide the information they’ve collected on them, as well as to opt out of any collection. More than a dozen categories of information and other data would be covered, ranging from internet browsing history and geolocational data, to psychological profiles.

It lists the exact language businesses would have to display on their websites and at a conspicuous spot near the entrance to stores:

“We sell consumers’ personal information, or share it for commercial purposes. California law allows you to tell us not to sell your personal information, or share it for commercial purposes, and we are required to offer the same goods or services at the same price, regardless of whether or not you permit us to sell your personal information, or share it for commercial purposes. If you check the box below, we will not sell your personal information, or share it for commercial purposes.”

Once the measure receives title and summary, proponents would have to collect 365,880 valid voter signatures.

Jim Miller: 916-326-5521, @jimmiller2 Christopher Cadelago of The Bee Capitol Bureau contributed to this report.

  Comments