It’s time that Americans had data rights. The Electronic Frontier Foundation explains an initiative being introduced by Los Angeles-area Democratic representative Bonnie Lowenthal with support from the EFF and ACLU:
Let’s face it: most of us have no idea how companies are gathering and sharing our personal data. A new proposal in California, supported by a diverse coalition (including EFF, the ACLU of Northern California, civil liberties groups, domestic violence advocates, consumer protection groups, sexual health, and women’s rights groups) is fighting to bring transparency and access to the seedy underbelly of digital data exchanges.
The Right to Know Act (AB 1291) would require a company to give users access to the personal data the company has stored on them—as well as a list of all the other companies with whom that original company has shared the users’ personal data—when a user requests it.
Lots of people around the world already enjoy these rights. This law mimics the rights of data access already available to users in Europe, which means that most of the big tech companies should already have systems in place to facilitate user access.
This law is about transparency and access, not new restrictions on data sharing. It helps consumers, regulators, policymakers, and the world at large shine a light onto the largely hidden, highly lucrative world of the personal data economy.
It would cover California residents and would apply to both offline and online companies. If you live in California, click here to support this bill.