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Direct Marketers Deep-Six California Data Broker Bill

After being passed by the California State Senate in May, a bill that would have hamstrung the efforts of data-driven marketers operating in the Golden State was killed by a committee in the State Assembly yesterday.  

SB 1348, also known as the Data Broker Bill, would have required data brokers that sell personal information to third parties to allow California residents to opt out of the sale and public posting of their personal information. It would also have prohibited the data broker from re-posting the individual’s personal information or transferring the information to another business entity. But the Assembly’s Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, and Internet Media Committee decided not to move it to the floor for a vote.

“Defeating SB 1348 is a significant victory for Californians and for the state’s economy. This deeply flawed bill would have stifled the responsible use of data in the marketplace that consumers value and businesses rely upon, while needlessly exposing Californians to identity fraudsters,” said Christopher Oswald, VP of state affairs for the Direct Marketing Association, whose organization on the ground in Sacramento and other marketing industry players helped turn the tide in the Assembly after the bill passed the Senate by a 24-8 vote on May 8.

Concerned marketers nationwide are heaving a sigh of relief over the outcome because of the size of the market in California and the presence and influence of marketing tech providers in the state.

“It’s a simple fact that the Internet doesn’t stop at state lines.  So, if a state as big and as central to the Internet economy as California passes a law regulating what companies can do with data in California, every American business is immediately affected,” wrote DMA VP of Government Affairs Rachel Nyswander Thomas in a blog post this morning.”  The bill’s expansive definition of ‘data broker’ would have negatively impacted virtually every business and nonprofit that retains any consumer information for responsible marketing or fundraising purposes by imposing costly and unnecessary compliance burdens.”

But the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, vowed to continue the fight. “I am disappointed that our effort to protect consumers’ right to privacy failed today, but the legislature must address the proliferation of unregulated data brokers and protect Californians’ constitutional right to privacy,” DeSaulnier said in a statement that quoted famed Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis. “[He] said Americans ‘had the right to be left alone,’ but how can you be left alone when you do not even know who is selling your personal information?”

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