Tech Companies Renew Push To Weaken California Privacy Law

Google and other tech companies reportedly are continuing to seek revisions that would make California's landmark privacy law more friendly to marketers.

The law, slated to take effect next year, gives consumers the right to learn what personal information has been collected about them by companies, have that information deleted, and prevent the sale of that data. The current bill's definition of “personal information” includes data that could potentially be linked to individuals -- including data used for ad targeting, such as persistent identifiers, browsing history and IP addresses.

Although the measure was passed and signed into law last year, California legislators can still amend the bill. The deadline for doing so is September 13.

Tech companies are aiming to convince the California state house to revamp the law so that it allows companies to continue to collecting data for targeted advertising when users opt out, according to a Bloomberg report based on “documents and the people familiar with the negotiations.”



The Silicon Valley trade group Internet Association -- which counts Google and Facebook as members -- is also running an ad campaign aimed at weakening the law, according to The Washington Post. The ads, which are shown to California residents on Twitter and Facebook, warn consumers that they could have to pay to use sites and apps that are currently free.

The ads direct people to the site “Keep the Internet Free,” which was launched in July by the Internet Association.

The lobbying group argues on the site that California's privacy law “was never intended to prohibit the use of tailored online ads,” and that targeted ads don't threaten privacy, because companies that deliver tailored ads don't need to know consumers' names, addresses or email addresses.

Earlier this year, several amendments that would have made California's law more friendly to online ad-tech companies failed to advance.

For instance, in July lawmakers rejected an amendment that may have exempted cookies and other pseudonymous identifiers used for ad targeting from the bill's definition of personal information.

And in April, a separate amendment that would have allowed companies to use people's personal information for ad targeting -- even when consumers attempted to opt out -- was pulled by its sponsor.

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