Experts Fear CA’s New Data Broker Regulation Will Harm More Than Help

( – California Senator Josh Becker wants to make it easy for consumers to have their personal information deleted from data broker databases, but tech companies are fighting back.

Up for debate is California bill SB362, or the “Delete Act,” which requires tech companies to delete any and all customer personal information upon request – including data companies bought or acquired from third parties.

According to sources for news outlet Politico, the pro-advertising lobby sent messages to lawmakers with the titles, “10 Reasons SB 362 Will Harm California” and “Negative Real-World Impacts of California SB 362.” According to the documents, should the Delete Act become law, law enforcement agencies would have a harder time preventing and tracing fraud and even impede healthcare providers from delivering services.

In a separate report, Politico also revealed that advertising firm Interpublic Group, that which owns data brokerage company Acxiom – plans to use customer data to fight the passage of the Delete Act. According to emails procured by the news outlet, there were exchanges between Interpublic global chief digital responsibility and public policy officer, Sheila Colclasure, along with other executives of the company, where they discussed how they plan to block the bill.

Included in the plans was an “opposition” campaign that would create ads – using “in-house digital advertising capabilities” – targeted towards California residents to help create public opposition to the Delete Act.

Senator Becker said that the goal of the bill is to “return control over our most personal data back to consumers.” Many personal privacy advocates have long expressed concern over how much data companies collect and how freely that data is sold among companies.

Lauren Harriman, who is an attorney for nonprofit group Just Futures Law, called data brokers’ data collection and selling practices “especially egregious because they circumvent the Fair Credit Report Act,” while at the same time putting a value on the information without valuing how accurate the said information is.

Speaking to Wired magazine, Harriman, who is also a staff attorney at the Georgetown Law Communications and Technology Law Clinic, said that data brokers pay a lot of money to utilities for customers’ names and addresses, and then bundles that information with other collected data and then “sell the new data set at a steep profit” without verifying how accurate those new data sets are.

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