New California law gives internet users more privacy rights

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- If you want to know what information companies like Facebook or Google are collecting about you, a new California privacy law can give you some insight.

The California Consumer Privacy Act aims at giving users more control of their data.

"For too long, big tech companies have been collecting our personal information without much accountability," said Assemblyman Ed Chau, who represents the 49th District.

Chau helped author the bill as chair of the Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection. He says this new law gives the consumer control, by being able to find out what companies are collecting their private information, what information is being collected and any third parties that it's being shared with.

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A mix of new laws take effect on January 1, 2020 in California. They include added protections to online privacy, a reclassification of independent contractors. statewide rent control and more freedom for your hairstyle at work.

"In addition, the consumer would have the opportunity to opt out of the sharing of their information, as well as the opportunity to opt out and also to tell the company to delete their information," Chau said.

If there's a data breach, consumers can sue a company and with so much personal information being collected, he says the law is crucial to protecting privacy.

"It is almost like having a surveillance camera over your shoulder on a 24/7 basis, so they're always constantly tracking you, knowing your habits, knowing your whereabouts," Chau said.

A number of tech companies have already made changes, with Facebook and Instagram sending out notifications this week.

A Twitter spokesperson released a statement saying:

"California has set a strong example for the nation to follow. We're always working to ensure our services meet applicable regulations, including the CCPA."

Rahul Roy-Chowdhury, Google's Vice President of Privacy, said:

"We're committed to putting its requirements into practice and have invested in our systems to make necessary changes."

Attorney General Xavier Becerra is working on regulations to help clarify the law for companies to comply. A number of other states have already started working on their own legislation regarding privacy, and the expectation is that there will eventually be a federal privacy law.
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