CA Assembly to Take Up Privacy Bill Today

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The California privacy bill that has the Direct Marketing Association in alert mode will be reconsidered in the state Assembly today.

S.B. 27 would mandate that companies keep records of all customer data that is shared with third parties offline or online for direct marketing purposes. The bill would require that companies provide a consumer with all the data that was shared and the names of the third-party data users within 30 days of a request by the consumer. It would affect any company doing business in California.

The bill, dubbed "Shine the Light" and introduced Dec. 2 by Sen. Liz Figueroa, passed the California Senate 26-13 on May 29. It has been working its way through the Assembly since June and suffered a 38-12 defeat Aug. 21, but is now expected to pass the Assembly in several days, according to the DMA.

Figueroa's office confirmed that the bill would be back before the Assembly today.

"This proposed legislation is the equivalent of California shooting itself in the economic foot," DMA president/CEO H. Robert Wientzen said in a statement last week. "In a time of economic uncertainty, California would be signaling that it is not open for business. Consumers are not at risk from legitimate marketers. The best direct marketing techniques involve highly targeting 'groups,' not individuals."

In an e-mail to its members last week, the DMA said Figueroa's bill is a serious attack on direct and interactive marketing, which accounts for more than $60 billion in sales in the state, about one-eighth of all direct marketing sales nationwide, and employs an estimated 259,000 Californians.

The DMA also urged its members to contact Figueroa and their Assembly members to inform them of the harm this bill would have on their businesses. The bill identifies 27 categories of information that would need to be disclosed. A customer also would be entitled to recover a civil penalty of up to $3,000 per violation, plus attorneys fees and costs.

S.B. 27 comes only a week after Gov. Gray Davis signed the California Financial Information Privacy Act on Aug. 27 mandating opt-in consent for the sharing of financial data.


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