California Passes Landmark Privacy Bill to Restrict Data Harvesting

California has enacted what lawmakers say is the strongest privacy bill in the U.S. that will restrict the data-harvesting practices of companies such as Facebook, Google, and Amazon. The California Consumer Privacy Act is designed to give users more control over their personal information and to provide new safeguards in the wake of major privacy breaches, including the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The new rules give residents the right to see what information is being collected about them and to request that the data be deleted. Users will also be able to find out whether their information is being sold to third parties, such as advertisers, and will be able to request that the companies stop doing so. “This bill will be the strongest of its kind in the nation and enact safeguards we need in the 21st century,” said State Sen. Bill Dodd, one of the bill’s co-authors. “Big data is big business. It’s time we regulate it appropriately and hold bad actors accountable.” The bill will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2020. Companies could be penalized as much as $7,500 for each violation.