California Pioneers US Law Empowering Citizens to Erase Personal Online Data

( – California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Delete Act on October 10, marking a big win for consumers and advocates who have been pushing for the law. California already had a privacy law that required data brokers to register with the state, but consumers had to make requests with each company to have their personal information removed from databases. Now, the California Privacy Protection Agency (CPPA) is required by law to implement a system that provides consumers with the ability to make a single request to have their data deleted by all data broker companies in the state.

These data brokers make money by selling people’s personal information to advertising companies and law enforcement agencies. In turn, companies can target specific consumers with advertisements for products they want those consumers to purchase. Law enforcement agencies utilize data brokers to obtain information they would otherwise have to get through a subpoena. Data brokers also sell location information, which can be dangerous if used improperly. Failure to comply with the new law will result in a $200 per day fine for each consumer’s data that a company fails to delete, in addition to other penalties.

Certain companies were exempted from the new law, which garnered scrutiny from Delete Me CEO Rob Shavell. He said that his company would still consider those companies to be data brokers because they “certainly have a lot of information about citizens.” These companies already have to comply with other privacy laws in the state, such as providing consumers with specifics on how their data will be used.

The Delete Act primarily targets the 500 third-party data broker companies in the state. They obtain personal data from consumers through the use of cookies, mobile app licensing agreements, and other methods. However, many browsers have already begun eliminating the use of cookies, and mobile users have the option to prevent apps from tracking their activity.

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