Leaked Facebook, Google Emails Reveal They’re Trying To Water Down California Internet Privacy Bill

Kyle Perisic | Contributor

Leaked Google and Facebook emails show the companies are furthering their opposition to a California privacy proposal by attempting to pass a more watered-down version of the bill.

Big tech companies are lobbying against the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and the lobby arm of the companies has proposed a watered-down version, AB 375, as a way of escaping the stricter CCPA, according to a Tuesday report from The Intercept.

The CCPA gives customers the right to opt out of the collection and sale of their personal information and data. It expands the definition of personal information to include geolocation, biometrics and browsing history. The initiative also gives customers the right to pursue legal action for violating the law if it’s enacted.

The CCPA is of particular interest to most tech companies, given they mainly operate out of Silicon Valley in San Francisco.

Leaked emails obtained by The Intercept show that, on top of outright opposing the CCPA, Andrea Deveau, the lobbyist for TechNet — the trade group representing Google, Facebook and others — is attempting to water down the definition of personal information in the weaker privacy bill, AB-375, should the bill pass.

Some significant changes to the CCPA in AB-375 include removing the right for consumers to sue companies for misusing their data, instead giving that power to the attorney general in most situations, The Intercept reported.

Companies represented in the trade organization are spending big money in their efforts to combat the bill. (RELATED: Big Tech Dumping Lots Of Cash On Not Having To Disclose The Data They Collect)

Amazon and Microsoft spent $195,000 each, state records show; while AT&T, Comcast, Facebook, Google and Verizon spent $200,000 each; and Uber spent $50,000.

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