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Attorney General Bonta: FTC should follow California’s lead and adopt strong data privacy protections

OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today urged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to enact strong protections against commercial surveillance and data security practices that harm consumers. The California Department of Justice (DOJ) has engaged in extensive consumer privacy enforcement and has developed a wealth of knowledge regarding commercial surveillance and data security practices through its enforcement. of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), the only comprehensive operational framework of privacy rights. in the country, among other consumer protection laws. In a letter to the FTC, Attorney General Bonta draws on that experience to identify key areas for federal regulatory action and urges the FTC to use its regulatory authority to define and prohibit other forms of acts and unfair and deceptive practices related to data privacy protection.

“California’s first privacy law provided Californians with groundbreaking rights over their personal information — and it’s long overdue for consumers nationwide to enjoy similar protections,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Consumers deserve to know that their data is protected and their privacy respected. I urge the FTC to look to California’s example and establish much-needed, common-sense consumer privacy protections.

California has long been at the forefront of consumer privacy regulation and enforcement, giving consumers more control over their personal data and information through the CCPA and requiring additional protections to patient privacy under medical information privacy law. More recently, California enacted the California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act, which requires companies to consider the best interests of child users and default to privacy and security settings that protect the health and -mental and physical being of children. Through recent DOJ privacy investigations, rulemaking, and enforcement actions, such as agreements with Sephora and Shinethe DOJ has developed unique insights into commercial surveillance and data security.

In today’s letter, the Attorney General builds on that experience to recommend that the FTC enact regulations that establish key privacy protections, including:

  • Establish clear safeguards to protect particularly sensitive personal information, such as precise geolocation and biometric information;
  • Provide consumers with the right to opt out of the sale of their personal information by data brokers;
  • Prohibit companies and operators of third-party online trackers from tracking or selling the data of users who have enabled privacy controls, such as GPC;
  • Require that online services and products likely to be viewed by children undergo a stricter age verification process;
  • Require companies that collect or retain consumer health information, but are exempt from federal health information privacy laws, to have reasonable security; and
  • Protecting vulnerable patients from the algorithmic decision-making tools of the healthcare and insurance industry that perpetuate unfair discrimination.

A copy of the comment letter can be found here.

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