Why 23 Companies Want to Tighten California’s Privacy Laws Even Further

Advocates say there’s still some ‘loopholes’ in CCPA

Some warn the CCPA could be as disruptive as GDPR has been in Europe. - Credit by iStock
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The California Consumer Privacy Act will come into effect next year, and many advertising experts warn that in its current guise the law could inhibit the marketing initiatives of some of the nation’s largest brands.

Some have warned that it could have an impact as disruptive as the policing of the General Data Protection Regulations has had on the digital media sector in the EU but it’s not all over, bar the shouting in the state of California as the clock counts down to CCPA enforcement.

Due to be enforced from early 2020, lobbying efforts are still underway both from those who advocate for and against such measures.

Earlier this week 23 tech companies (see image), including web browser Brave and search engine DuckDuckGo, joined consumer advocacy groups including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union in supporting the Privacy for All Act.

First proposed by California Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, and also known as A.B. 1760, the proposal would extend CCPA personal information rights to cover gaps currently not legislated for when it comes to online advertising.

“A.B. 1760 holds all covered companies to that standard and makes sure that Californians’ information is protected by default,” reads the open letter addressed to California Assembly’s Privacy Committee.

“It will give all Californians the knowledge and power to truly control their personal information … without being punished with higher prices or degraded service.”

In particular, the concerned parties take issue with personal data shared when it comes to selling ad impressions using real-time bidding, a form of programmatic advertising that generated $20 billion in revenue in the U.S. alone last year according to eMarketer’s numbers.

Speaking with Adweek, Dr. Johnny Ryan, chief policy and industry relations officer at Brave and co-signee of the letter, explained how Privacy for All goes some way to addressing the issues he objects to, but not all.

Ryan further went on to voice Brave’s opposition to a recently tabled amendment to CCPA by California Sen. Henry Stern, which he claims would exempt the online advertising industry.

Dubbed Senate Bill 753, the passage that Ryan takes issue with reads: “a business does not sell personal information … to another business or third party.”

He went on to explain his objection, saying that “the CCPA says you’re not allowed to sell my personal information without various things applying, but if you look at RTB, the bid request isn’t actually a sale of information, it’s just a sharing of information, there isn’t any money paid back–what’s called consideration in law. So there straight away you’ve got a problem.”

Ryan added, “so, what we’re saying is, ‘Look, you are proposing an exception that allows a person’s GPS coordinates, their age, their IP address and category codes of the content that they are loading.’”

However, none of this is to say the advertising industry is outright attempting to ward-off all regulation, as some of the highest profile names, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, recently advocated that government helps rein-in how companies trade in personal information.

More broadly, some in the ad industry want to avoid a smorgasbord of state-by-state regulations. Last week, for example, four of the sector’s leading trade groups joined forces advocating for a federal data privacy law in a bid to avoid a cumbersome scenario that would be troublesome to negotiate.

While some remain dubious as to the sincerity of such initiatives, those advocating for the online advertising industry are keen to highlight changes CCPA will necessitate, which they claim will harm consumers.

In a February open letter that was co-signed by representatives of the ANA, AAF, 4A’s, IAB and NAI, the advertising industry collectively argued that CCPA would force businesses to turn pseudonymous data into identifiable information, plus fail to give consumers the choice over “nuanced and tailored” data deletion and opt-out choices, among other flaws.

The legislative bodies will vote on the proposals later in the year.

@ronan_shields ronan.shields@adweek.com Ronan Shields is a programmatic reporter at Adweek, focusing on ad-tech.