- Aug 17, 2017
A new California privacy bill should make it easier for residents to take their personally identifiable information (PII) off data brokers. But Californians won't be the only ones to benefit if the California Delete Act (Senate Bill 362) passes. Like other tech developments, where California goes, the rest of the nation tends to follow. Bill 362 provides a perfect template for a nationwide win against data brokers and the dangerous privacy infringements they cause.
One of the largest sources of online exposure (i.e., how your phone number pops up when someone Googles you), data brokers are companies that aggregate information about consumers. They, mostly legally, take this data from various different sources (public records, credit card transactions, social media, etc.) and then sell it to third parties.
Data brokers rarely vet their customers. As a result, anyone — from marketers and law enforcement agencies to cybercriminals — can get their hands on our personal information, such as contact details, family information, sexuality, reproductive health, and even geolocation. We know that criminal groups use data brokers for reconnaissance and targeted phishing emails.
If Senate Bill 362 passes (which looks likely), it could trigger a sequence of state copycat laws. Get enough of these over the line, and a federal data broker opt-out process will likely follow.