Proposition 24’s anticipated harm to consumers, workers, immigrants and small business has created an uncommon alliance of opponents that spans the political spectrum.
Consumer, privacy and good government groups leading the opposition include the ACLU, the League of Women Voters of California, Consumer Federation of California, the California Alliance for Retired Americans, Consumer Action, Public Citizen, Californians for Privacy Now and the Center for Digital Democracy.
Prop 24’s wealthy sponsor met behind closed doors with Facebook and high tech lobbyists while he was drafting this so-called “privacy” initiative.1 Tech companies are silent on Prop 24. The San Francisco Chronicle’s editorial opposing Prop 24 concludes that tech giants do not consider Prop 24 a threat to their privacy-invading practices.2
Consumer and privacy groups object to Proposition 24’s approval of Pay for Privacy schemes, its elimination of privacy rights when Californians travel outside the state, and its changes to current law that make it more cumbersome for consumers to stop corporations from selling their confidential personal data.
Advocates for vulnerable communities are alarmed that Proposition 24 will create privacy haves and have-nots. Millions of Californians who are struggling during a pandemic and high unemployment cannot afford to pay more to secure their privacy. They will be forced to choose between good online connections without privacy, or inferior internet access if they assert their privacy rights. Prop 24 also omits immigration status as a category of confidential information, and it eliminates the right of individuals to delete information posted on Facebook or other social media platforms, which exposes immigrants to greater risk of intimidation and deportation.
Color of Change, labor and civil rights leader Dolores Huerta, The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, the California Environmental Justice Alliance and other advocates for low income persons, immigrants and communities of color oppose Prop 24.
Unions opposing Prop 24 include the California Nurses Association and Communications Workers of America District 9, AFL-CIO. Prop 24 delays the right of workers to find out what personal information unrelated to work performance employers are secretly collecting.
At the same time, Prop 24 is a costly burden on small business. Businesses are already spending as much as $55 billion to comply with a new privacy law that became fully operational on July 1, 2020, according to a report released by the California Department of Finance.3 It is too early to know how well this brand new privacy law is working and what needs to be fixed. Prop 24 will impose a new round of compliance costs at a time that many smaller businesses are barely surviving a severe economic downturn. The California Small Business Association, the Orange County Business Council, Chambers of Commerce in Riverside, San Luis Obispo, and West Sacramento, and other small business groups oppose Prop 24. The San Diego Union-Tribune’s editorial opposing Prop 24 states “It’s too soon to redo California’s current internet privacy law.”4
Big tech companies are likely to gain an unfair advantage, as Prop 24’s costs are a handicap to any potential new competition. The Orange County Register’s editorial opposing Prop 24 notes that “Never again will tech giants be threatened by a start-up company in somebody’s garage.”5
Also uniting this diverse coalition of Prop 24 opponents are grave concerns with its restrictions that make it next impossible for lawmakers to correct its flaws or to strengthen privacy rights. This concern is echoed by legal scholars6 and editorials opposing Prop 24 in the San Jose Mercury News7, the Bakersfield Californian8 and other daily newspapers. Consumer Reports wrote that Prop 24 “is designed to calcify a particular (and relatively weak) mode of privacy protection.”9