IP: Proposed privacy initiative could dramatically alter business practices

The California Personal Privacy Initiative seeks to amend the state’s constitution with respect to personally identifiable information

A potentially revolutionary ballot initiative that could adversely affect businesses collecting personal information about consumers, and potentially increase their exposure to civil privacy and data breach litigation, was recently filed with the California AG’s office. The California Personal Privacy Initiative (the Privacy Initiative) seeks to amend the state’s constitution to substantially broaden the scope of personally identifiable information (PII), deem all information provided by a consumer to any private entity or the government confidential by default, and establish a presumption of harm whenever PII has been disclosed without authorization. As discussed below, each of these proposed amendments represents a significant change in U.S. privacy laws and, if passed, will likely force businesses doing business in California to materially change their data sharing policies and convert to an opt-in approach to data sharing. 

Each of these proposed changes is summarized below.

Contributing Author

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Karen Bromberg

Karen H. Bromberg is a partner with Cohen & Gresser LLP and heads its intellectual property and technology group.

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