California Privacy Law Will Evolve Search Data Collection Practices

Search engines still rely on data collection to serve the "most relevant" ads, but a new California privacy bill passed by lawmakers Thursday will continue to change the way marketers target consumers using search engines such Google and Microsoft Bing. 

"We support privacy laws that protect consumers and encourage innovation, wrote Katherine Williams, Google spokesperson, in an email to MediaPost.  "While today's law marks some improvements to an overly vague and broad ballot measure, it came together under extreme time pressure, and imposes sweeping novel obligations on thousands of large and small businesses around the world, across every industry.  We appreciate that California legislators recognize these issues and we look forward to improvements to address the many unintended consequences of the law." 

The law, which takes effect in 2020, gives consumers the right to prevent the sale of their personal information, such as the web-browsing history. It was signed by Governor Gerry Brown on Thursday and gives consumers the right to know all data collected about them by a business twice annually, free of charge.



The bill -- titled AB 375, the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 -- gives children and consumers greater control over their personal data. It was introduced by lawmakers Senator Bob Hertzberg, Senator Bill Dodd, Assembly member Ed Chau, and Campaign Chair of Californians for Consumer Privacy Alastair Mactaggart. The group pushed the bill, according to the video of the announcement.

“They never thought we could do it,” Hertzberg said during a press conference. “That is what’s great, and that’s what one of the reasons why we had such a problem in the negotiations, because it was hard to get people to the table who thought we were serious.”

Earlier this week a privacy initiative qualified for the November ballet, but a vote will no longer be necessary. The bill was pulled and Brown signed the revised bill into law. 

Under the bill, California residents also have the right to say no to the sales of their information, have businesses delete their data, and stay informed about the categories of data that will be collected. Other inclusions in the law include mandating an opt-in before the sale of information about children under the age of 16. The right to know the categories of third parties with whom data is shared. The right to know the categories of sources of information, the business or commercial purpose of collecting your information, and private right of actions regarding data breaches.

The lawmakers think the bill is similar to Europe’s General Protection Data Regulations, where businesses are required to get the permission of users before collecting and storing their data.

It comes to simplicity, consumers agree to allow companies to use the data or don’t do business with them.

And in retrospect it is easy to see why Google recently made all the changes to its privacy collection policies, giving consumers the ability to opt-in and opt-out of seeing specific ads and using services.

Google's latest changes, announced June 13, redesign Ad Settings, allowing users of its services to turn off targeting signals. It also provides more insight into why certain ads serve up on Google sites and its partner websites and apps. The data serves up through a dashboard Google labeled Why this ad?


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