Lawmakers in the California Assembly on Wednesday approved the Delete Act, which aims to enable residents to easily remove their information from every data broker registered with the state.
The bill (SB 362), which passed by a vote of 43-11, is backed by privacy advocates but opposed by the ad industry and business groups.
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 Delete Act, introduced earlier this year by Senator Josh Becker, builds on that law by requiring all data brokers in the state to honor a delete request made through a single mechanism.
Supporters including the digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation argue the bill will give people a practical way to exercise privacy rights that already exist.
The statute “helps us gain better control over our data and makes it easier to mitigate the risks that the collection and sale of personal information create in our everyday lives,” the group wrote last month in a blog post.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta also expressed support for the bill, arguing in a recent letter to Becker that it's impractical to expect people to submit individual deletion requests to around 500 data brokers registered in the state.
The ad industry and other business groups lobbied against the Delete Act.
Chris Oswald, executive vice president for government relations at the Association of National Advertisers said Wednesday evening that the bill “will encourage the mass deletion of data that is the lifeblood of California’s digital economy.”
Ad organizations and other opponents previously argued to state lawmakers that the measure will hurt small businesses that rely on information provided by data brokers to find new customers.
Opponents also objected to a provision requiring data brokers to honor deletion requests submitted by consumers' agents. That provision could “create a cottage industry of for-profit companies that are going to make requests on behalf of consumers,” Oswald said last week.
On Wednesday, he reiterated that concern, saying the measure will enrich “pay-to-play 'deletion' schemes that charge consumers hundreds of dollars a year for what is supposed to be a free tool.”
Dan Smith, president and CEO of the Consumer Data Industry Association, which represents data brokers, separately stated the measure “undermines fraud protections.”
Current language in the bill appears to allow data brokers to maintain at least some information for security purposes -- even when consumers request to have their data deleted -- but opponents say the extent of that exemption is unclear.
The state Senate passed the bill earlier this year, and is expected to vote this week on recent amendments passed by the Assembly. Assuming the Senate approves those amendments, the measure will head to the governor's desk.
If enacted, the bill will take effect in October 2026.