California introduces ‘right to know’ data access bill

From ZDNet:  California Assembly Member Bonnie Lowenthal has introduced a bill that may force companies operating in the state to follow EU-style data and privacy rules.   The Bill follows intensive lobbying by two major US privacy groups, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Northern Californian branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The Bill follows the lead of the EU, which for many years has allowed citizens’ to submit a request to acquire the data a company holds on them in order to ensure that such data is up to date and correct. In recent years, one Austrian law student took this “habeas data” right to public light by demanding his Facebook data from the social network.  Americans have never had any such rights, and have been limited in their ability to pursue companies for data breaches and privacy breaches.

The proposedlaw would require any business that holds a customer’s personal information to disclose it within 30 days of that customer’s request. Adding to this, names and contact information of all third parties with which the business has shared that customer’s data with during the previous 12 months must also be disclosed.  And if that company declines, that citizen can file a civil complaint against that firm to force it to comply with the law.

You can read more about the Bill here.


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