Big Tech Dumping Lots Of Cash On Not Having To Disclose The Data They Collect

Kyle Perisic | Contributor

Tech giants are spending millions of dollars to defeat a California ballot proposal for a privacy law that would require tech companies to disclose the information they collect on users and give users the ability to prevent their information from being sold.

Companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google — among others —  are using their collective strength in defeating the California Consumer Privacy Act.

The California Consumer Privacy Act gives California residents the right to request all the information a company has on them. The law proposal says specifically that a “consumer shall have the right to request that a business that collects personal information about the consumer disclose to the consumer the categories of personal information it has collected about that consumer.”

The proposal also gives consumers the right to have companies stop selling their personal data. “If you tell a business not to share or sell your private information, they cannot charge you more, deny you access to services, or change the quality of the service you get,” according to the campaign pushing for the proposal, Californians for Consumer Privacy.

According to state records, Amazon has spent $195,000 so far; Microsoft has spent $195,000; Uber has spent $50,000; AT&T has spent $200,000; Facebook has spent $200,000; Google has spent $200,000; Verizon has spent $200,000; and Comcast has spent $200,000.

The campaign chair of Californians for Consumer Privacy is Alastair Mactaggart, a real estate developer in the Bay Area, who is primarily funding the campaign. He has so far spent more than $3 million, The Verge reported.

“There’s so much money, and there are very powerful corporations that really have an immense interest in keeping business as usual going and having no regulations,” Mactaggart said.

“Protecting people’s information is critical to maintaining customer trust — a principle Amazon was built on,” a spokesperson said, The Verge reported. “While we share the initiative’s overarching goal of protecting consumer privacy, we are concerned by unworkable requirements that would hinder our ability to innovate on behalf of our customers. We look forward to working with policymakers to find a solution that allows us to do both.”

The campaign to strengthen the privacy laws in California turned in over 600,000 signatures, almost double the requirement to get it on the ballot, on May 3. The voters of California will vote on the initiative in November 2018 if the State Department verifies the authenticity of the signatures.

Big tech companies, especially those based in Silicon Valley have been getting more politically active lately than usual. Tech billionaires successfully helped elect London Breed as mayor of San Francisco in a special election on June 5. (RELATED: Silicon Valley Throwing Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dollars At Dems In San Francisco Mayoral Race)

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