Tech Companies Rally Against Consumer-Empowering Privacy Legislation

Mark Mackay

Anyone who's been following the California Consumer Privacy Act will be happy to learn that as of midnight yesterday, no more amendments can be made to the act, which means it will go into effect on January 1 mostly unchanged. However, TechCrunch reported that Silicon Valley's tech firms seem to be terrified by the consumer-empowering privacy legislation with many companies -- including Amazon and IBM -- signing an open letter to Congress moving for a federal privacy law stating that consumers don't have the wit to understand privacy laws that would change from state to state.

The law would grant consumers access to the information gathered on them by tech companies, the right to opt-out of the sale of that information, and even the power to have the information deleted entirely -- much to the horror of Silicon Valley.

It's well known that many companies will do what they can to shy away from unnecessary interactions with customers, pulling stunts such as hiding their contact information deep beneath layers of sub-menus on websites. The new law would mean tech firms have a responsibility to provide much more customer interaction and user interface options for any data gathered, and the whole shebang would be backed by state legislation.

The Internet Association, a group which includes tech companies like Reddit, Dropbox, Facebook, Snapchat and ZipRuictuer, among others, is pushing hard for the federal law in a bid to nullify the CCPA before it's in place.

Jacob Snow, a technology and civil liberties attorney at Northern California's American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), told TechCrunch that the timing of the push for this federal law is no mere coincidence.

"It's no accident that the tech industry launched this campaign right after the California legislature rejected their attempts to undermine the California Consumer Privacy Act… Instead of pushing for federal legislation that wipes away state privacy law, technology companies should ensure that Californians can fully exercise their privacy rights under the CCPA on January 1, 2020, as the law requires."