Fri | May 24, 2019

California governor wants users to profit from online data

Published:Thursday | February 14, 2019 | 10:14 AM
AP photo

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Governor Gavin Newsom has set off a flurry of speculation after he said the state’s consumers should get a piece of the billions of dollars that technology companies make by capitalising on personal data they collect.

The new governor has asked aides to develop a proposal for a “data dividend” for California residents but provided no hints about whether he might be suggesting a tax on tech companies, an individual refund to their customers or something else.

“Companies that make billions of dollars collecting, curating and monetising our personal data have a duty to protect it,” the Democrat said in his first State of the State speech Tuesday.

“California’s consumers should also be able to share in the wealth that is created from their data.”

Tech companies, for example, sell the data to outside businesses that target ads to users.

The European Union and Spain’s socialist government last year each proposed taxing big internet companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon.

Common Sense Media, which helped pass California’s nation-leading digital privacy law last year, plans to propose legislation in coming weeks that would reflect Newsom’s proposal, founder and CEO James Steyer said, without providing details.

Starting next year, California’s European-style privacy law will require companies to tell customers upon request what personal data they have collected and why, which categories of third parties have received it, and allow consumers to delete their information and not sell it.

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