Expansion of California privacy law qualifies for ballot

By Kathleen Ronayne
Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP), Jun 25 – California voters will decide a ballot measure this November that would give them more power over how companies use their data, an extension of a landmark privacy law passed in 2018.

Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced Wednesday a measure to amend the law will be on the Nov. 3 general election ballot. Thursday is the deadline for initiatives to qualify; they need hundreds of thousands of verified voter signatures to get on the ballot. Others ballot measures this fall would roll back a law that limits taxes on businesses and exempt ride-share services from a new state employment law.

The consumer privacy measure would, among other things: Allow consumers to prevent businesses from sharing their personal information; limit businesses’ use of geolocation, race, health or other information; and create a state agency to enforce and implement the law. The agency would cost an estimated $10 million per year.

It builds on the California Consumer Privacy Act, which took effect Jan. 1. Lawmakers passed it in 2018 under pressure from Alastair Mactaggart, a wealthy California developer, who spent millions of his own money to qualify an even more sweeping measure for the ballot. He withdrew his measure when the law passed under a compromise with legislators.

Under the existing law, consumers can request companies, including Internet giants Google and Facebook, tell them what personal data they have collected and what third parties the companies shared it with. Consumers can ask companies to delete it or stop selling it. Companies can’t sell data from children under the age of 16 without consent.

Mactaggart’s new initiative would triple the penalties for companies that violate the rules for children under 16.

“California has led the nation in securing fundamental privacy rights,” Mactaggart said in a statement. “During these times of unprecedented uncertainty, we need to ensure that the laws keep pace with the ever-changing ways corporations and other entities are using our data.”

“California businesses need regulatory certainty – not a moving target – especially during these unprecedented times when many are in survival mode,“ the group said in a statement.

The Internet Association, which represents companies including Amazon, Google, and Facebook, did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.

Police urge drivers, bike riders and pedestrians to be cautious

Submitted by Geneva Bosques, Fremont PD

While the COVID-19 pandemic is requiring residents to stay home as much as possible, the Fremont Police Department (FPD) recognizes the need to protect the public by looking for violations made by bicyclists, drivers and pedestrians that make roads unsafe.

These violations include drivers speeding, making illegal turns, failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, failing to stop for signs and signals or any other traffic violation. Officers are also looking for pedestrians who cross the street illegally or fail to yield to drivers who have the right of way. Bike riders will be stopped when riding on the wrong side of the street, not complying with stop signs and signals, or other violation of the same traffic laws that apply to them as drivers.

“Just because there’s less traffic doesn’t mean traffic rules go out the window,” Lieutenant Ariel Quimson said. “To protect you and your family, we want to make sure those that are out are following rules intended to keep them safe.”

The safety of bicyclists and pedestrians remains a top priority for the FPD. So far this year, the FPD has investigated one deadly and 25 injury collisions involving bicyclists and pedestrians.

To keep residents safe, the FPD is offering these tips for people to follow when they are outside biking, driving, or walking:

Pedestrians
• Only cross at marked crosswalks or intersections with a stop sign or signal.
• Look for cars backing up. Avoid going between parked cars.
• Make eye contact with drivers. Don’t assume they see you.
• Wear bright clothing during the day and use a flashlight when walking at night.

Drivers
• Wait for pedestrians to cross the street. Be courteous and patient.
• Stay off the phone.
• Follow the speed limit.
• Look for pedestrians when backing up or turning.

Bicyclists
• Always wear a helmet. Helmets are required by law for anyone under 18.
• Bicyclists must travel in the same direction of traffic and have the same requirements as any slow-moving vehicle.

Everyone who is out is reminded to practice physical distancing measures when feasible, staying at least six feet away from others. Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.