A ballot measure passed by a sizable majority of California voters to ramp up protections for online privacy could pave the way for similar measures across the country.
More than half of Golden State voters – or 56 percent – voted in favor of Proposition 24, designed to bolster a California consumer privacy rights bill passed last year.
The passage of the ballot measure hoists into place a new law, the California Privacy Rights Act, which is designed to make it easier for consumers to decline to share their online data with companies while also closing some potential loopholes in the original 2019 law.
The ballot measure also creates a new state watchdog agency to enforce the rules, which are slated to go into effect in 2023.
Given California’s size and its historical role as a national trend-setter, observers see the tough new privacy law as likely to spur action by other states over the coming years.
California is the first state to pass a major online privacy bill, with New York and Washington now considering their own legislation.
Alastair Mactaggart, a real estate developer, championed the measure and led the drive to pass the stiffer online privacy law, arguing that action was needed to prevent the protections in the 2019 law from being watered down by opponents.
Proposition 24 also attracted a number of high-profile supporters, including one-time Democratic presidential primary candidate Andrew Yang.
“We are at the beginning of a journey that will profoundly shape the fabric of our society by redefining who is in control of our most personal information and putting consumers back in charge of their own data,” said Mactaggart, chair of Californians for Consumer Privacy and a Proposition 24 sponsor, in a press release. “I’m looking forward to the work ahead and the next steps in implementing this law, including setting up a commission that is dedicated to protecting consumers online.”