Letters to the Editor

Letters: California planted a major flag on data privacy protections

Data privacy

California's new consumer privacy law isn't as sweeping as you might think” (sacbee.com, July 5): California’s new consumer privacy law is indeed a bellwether moment for data protection online. There’s still a ways to go, but a law that allows people to learn exactly what information is sold about them, to whom and to stop that sale is nothing short of historic. Common Sense, a national nonprofit dedicated to supporting kids and families in the digital age, sponsored this bill, as we have with other California privacy protection firsts, including the 2013 Eraser Button for kids younger than 18 and 2014 Student Online Personal Information Protection Act.

The FTC was on the right track in 1998 with the Children Online Privacy Protection Act, which forbids companies from advertising or marketing to kids younger than 13. In 2013, Common Sense strengthened COPPA. California’s new law goes even further, protecting kids until age 16. We can do even more by covering how companies use data, not just sell it. That way we can stop companies like Facebook from letting advertisers access our personal information, which exposes us and our democracy to entities like Cambridge Analytica. The fight for data privacy for kids, families, and all consumers is far from over, but in California, we have once again planted a major flag for other states to follow.

James P. Steyer, CEO of Common Sense