Proposition 24 won’t strengthen privacy rights for Californians. Instead, it will undermine protections in current law and increase the burden on people to protect themselves—in ways that will disproportionately harm poor people and people of color. Please vote NO on Prop 24.
We oppose Prop 24 because it will not protect the privacy of the most vulnerable Californians. Black and immigrant communities need strong privacy rights to protect themselves from corporate discrimination as well as state violence. But Prop 24 threatens to make privacy a luxury available only for the most privileged Californians. By forcing Californians to pay for their privacy and opt-out, it places the burden of privacy on the individual, a load those in working families and marginalized communities cannot bear.
Prop 24 is also full of loopholes that undermine consumer privacy, including a carveout written by the credit-reporting industry, weakened privacy protections for Californians when they travel, and new ways to keep consumers in the dark about what companies are doing with their personal information. For every step forward, there are two steps back. That approach won’t advance privacy in California.
Prop 24 = Pay for Privacy
Californians shouldn’t have to pay for privacy, particularly when the California Constitution guarantees privacy as an inalienable right. This is even more essential due to the COVID-19 pandemic; online privacy is more important than ever with Californians spending more time learning, working, and shopping online. Prop 24 doesn’t just fail to fix this; it makes it worse with a new exception that allows companies to charge you more if you tell them not to sell your personal information.
The fact is that working families are already struggling to stay healthy, find a job, keep food on the table, and maintain their housing. No one should be put in the position of choosing between the necessities of survival and their privacy. Privacy is a right, not a luxury for people who can afford it.
Prop 24 = Privacy Paperwork
Californians overwhelmingly want companies to ask permission before sharing their personal information. Privacy as a default puts individuals squarely in control of their own information by making it impossible for any company to sell or otherwise disclose their information without explicitly obtaining consent.
Under current law, companies have to respect people’s privacy choices when they use a “global opt-out” to indicate that their personal information should not be sold. But Prop 24 makes respecting this choice optional for companies, letting them force consumers to manually opt-out separately on each website and app they use—and with the hundreds of data brokers that might buy and sell their personal information. Requiring people to fill out forms to get privacy protection is an unacceptable burden for everyone, but especially for communities who are already struggling.
Prop 24 = Privacy Loopholes
Prop 24 introduces numerous other exceptions and loopholes that will further weaken privacy protections for Californians. For example:
- The credit reporting industry wrote their own exception to California privacy law, and that exception appears, word for word, in Prop 24.
- Prop 24 weakens protection for biometric information to protect companies while leaving users exposed.
- Under Prop 24, companies could be permitted to pull private information off people’s devices the moment they leave the state.
- Under Prop 24, police can stop companies from allowing people to protect themselves by deleting their own personal information. The police can issue a blanket order even if no crime has been committed, including, for example, locking down the information of people in the vicinity of a protest against police violence.
- Prop 24 adds a new exception so companies can scrape information from social media sites and other sources without giving people any privacy protection. Social media images have been used to sell people’s identities to the police or to ICE, who will use it to track or terrorize immigrants.
- There is a new exception in Prop 24 allowing companies to refuse requests for information the company has collected or generated about consumers based on vague claims that something in that information might be proprietary or somehow valuable to the business.
- And Prop 24 creates a new back door for service providers like Facebook to add exceptions and ways to exploit people’s information in the future.
Prop 24 = Less Privacy for Those Who Need It Most
Californians need a privacy law that protects everyone equally, Black or white, rich or poor. The truth is, working people can't afford to pay the money or spend the time Prop 24 would demand. Even those who are highly motivated to protect their privacy may be unable to do so under Prop 24. For immigrant families, or activists fighting police brutality, this change—and the practical inability to keep personal information about who you are, where you go, and what you do private—could be a matter of life and death.
Privacy as a privilege is the wrong response to our current reckoning with systemic bias and injustice that has long placed extra burdens on Black, immigrant, and other vulnerable Californians.
Prop 24 fails to deliver privacy protections for all. Californians should vote no on Prop 24.
View more information and other proposition recommendations. Paid for by American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.