Ad Industry Urges California Lawmakers To Reject New Data Broker Bill

The major ad organizations are urging California lawmakers to reject a bill aimed at enabling residents to easily remove their information from every data broker registered with the state.

The California Consumer Privacy Act already allows people to request removal of their information from data brokers, but on a company-by-company basis.

The new Delete Act (SB 362), introduced earlier this year by Senator Josh Becker, would require all data brokers in the state to honor an opt-out request made through a single mechanism.

The measure was passed by the state Senate earlier this year, and is currently in an Assembly committee.

“If passed, SB 362 would negatively impact Californians,” the Association of National Advertisers, American Advertising Federation, American Association of Advertising Agencies, Interactive Advertising Bureau and other organizations say in a letter sent Thursday to members of the California Assembly.

“Without data, companies would not be able to deliver critically important products and services consumers benefit from today, sometimes without even being aware of how this data supports their safety and enjoyment of everyday life,” the groups write.

“These services include anti-fraud and identity verification services, marketing services and loyalty programs, cybersecurity services, public interest research, risk management services, beneficiary location, and more,” the organizations add.

They also say the bill could hinder smaller companies' ability to compete with bigger players.

“The main way smaller entities advertise and reach and build new audiences for their products and services is by leveraging third-party data sets provided by data brokers,” the groups write. “If SB 362 is enacted, and all data brokers must delete data upon a consumer’s (or third party’s) click of a single button, small, mid-size, and start-up companies will struggle to enter markets and remain profitable once they begin doing business.”

Earlier this week, Association of National Advertisers CEO Bob Liodice urged members to oppose the bill, stating that it “could prompt a flood of mass deletion requests, because it allows self-interested companies and pay-to-play privacy services to submit those requests on behalf of large groups of consumers.”

He added that if passed, the bill “could have national reverberations, as other states may be inspired to follow California.”

The bill is supported by the digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, which says the law “will improve everyone's privacy rights and make California's consumer privacy laws more user-friendly.”

That group writes that currently, people who want to their information deleted by data brokers face the “time-consuming and tedious process” of making individual requests.

By contrast, the bill gives people “a much-needed method to exercise our privacy rights,” and “makes it easier to mitigate the risks that the collection and sale of personal information create in our everyday lives.”

Planned Parenthood also supports the bill.

“SB 362 will enhance privacy protections around abortion access data,” Molly Robson, vice president of government affairs at Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California reportedly stated. “As access to abortion is under attack, this bill will ensure that data cannot be weaponized, protecting patients and their privacy.” 

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