By Conor White
California's new sweeping privacy bill, known as the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, is set to go into effect in 2020, and Common Sense Media CEO and founder Jim Steyer, who was involved in the drafting process, said it's a major development.
"I went and met with the CEOs of most of the major tech companies," Steyer, also a civil rights attorney, said Wednesday in an interview on Cheddar. "One by one, led by Apple and Salesforce, they said, 'Hey, let's cut a deal here.'"
Steyer's company produces consumer reports for media from the perspective of kids and family. It's among the largest advocacy groups of its kind for data privacy.
California's new bill contains a robust series of built-in privacy measures. It stipulates that anyone 16 or younger must opt in to allow a site or app to save their data ー the reverse of the more passive "opt-out" choices that many companies currently offer. The implications are serious, since according to the bill, companies will no longer be able to siphon data by default. The bill will likely have a similar impact to Europe's recently enacted General Data Protection Regulation.
"This is, essentially, the de facto national privacy law for the United States," Steyer said. "On Facebook you are the product. Your information and data is what they're selling to advertisers."
Now, thanks to California's privacy act, the consumer will own the data and therefore control it.
Steyer said the issue is one of "speed," since many of the major platforms evolved at "warp" levels. This prevented users from fully understanding the privacy effects.
But now, he added, change is upon us ー especially after the public caught wind of violations like Facebook's Cambridge Analytica data scandal.
"When Larry and Sergei started Google they had the 'Do no evil' slogan," Steyer said. "And I think we intuitively thought that all tech was good."
Although some have speculated that Facebook and its peers will have to change the way they conduct business, tech giants' survival is the least of Steyer's worries.
"We should not weep any tears for the people at Facebook. They are an incredibly successful company, and they will adapt," he said.
For full interview click here.