California Governor Gavin Newsom on Tuesday signed the Delete Act, which aims to enable state residents to easily remove their information from all data brokers registered with the state.
The bill (SB 362) was backed by privacy advocates but opposed by the ad industry and business groups.
California's privacy laws already allow residents 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, expands on that law by requiring all data brokers in the state to honor a delete request made through a single mechanism, to be created by the California Privacy Protection Agency. The bill also requires data brokers to register with the privacy agency and disclose the types of personal data they collect.
The measure will become a law next year, but the provision regarding the opt-out mechanism won't take effect until 2026.
Last month, a coalition of ad organizations urged Newsom to veto the bill, arguing it will “end the widespread availability of free and low-cost Internet offerings” to state residents.
“If enacted as-is, SB 362 will create catastrophic impacts for Californians by eradicating the very data that powers their access to free and low-cost online content, products, and services,” the Association of National Advertisers, American Association of Advertising Agencies, Interactive Advertising Bureau. American Advertising Federation, and Digital Advertising Alliance said in a letter to Newsom.
“The bill’s deletion mechanism will remove data necessary for modern marketing and advertising, which subsidizes the vast and varied content, products, and services consumers access for free or at a low cost today (such as maps, news, informational content, videos, music, games, and more),” the groups added.
The advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation supported the law, arguing it will enable residents to wield more control over their information. California Attorney General Rob Bonta also supported the law, arguing in a recent letter to sponsor Senator Josh 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 groups that lobbied against the bill argued to state legislators that it will harm small businesses and also hinder anti-fraud initiatives, loyalty programs and research. The groups reiterated those concerns in their letter urging Newsom to veto the measure.
“SB 362’s deletion provisions will eliminate data from small and start-up businesses’ marketing efforts... making it considerably more difficult for them to find customers and causing many small businesses to be driven out of the market due to the loss of available audiences for their offerings,” the ad organizations wrote.
They also said the bill “will thwart data brokers’ ability to provide vital anti-fraud services.”
The bill allows data brokers to maintain some consumer data for security purposes -- even after a consumer has requested its deletion. But the ad industry says that provision doesn't go far enough to enable data brokers to combat fraud.
On Tuesday, Chris Oswald, Association of National Advertisers' executive vice president for government relations, called the Delete Act “a lose-lose-lose-lose for California's consumers, businesses, government agencies, and economy.”
coming cascade of damage from the Delete Act will hopefully serve as a cautionary tale to other states, so they can avoid the broad negative impacts from any similar sledgehammer approach to our
interdependent digital economy,” he said. “This new law also creates another ripped seam in the nation's increasingly frayed and unsustainable patchwork of state privacy regulations,
highlighting the critical need for preemptive federal legislation that protects both consumers and the data-supported services they love."