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Our privacy matters: Yes on Prop 24

Will create a Privacy Protection Agency

Sean Dugar Guest oped | 10/22/2020, midnight

Every day, we hear horror stories of young students beginning their distance learning getting spammed with pornographic ads: police tracking people at Black Lives Matter protests via their cellphone signal: women visiting Planned Parenthood clinics being geotargeted by anti-abortion groups while making one of the hardest decisions of their lives: and the sensitive personal information we put into health, banking, and dating apps being sold to the highest bidder or hacked.

Our data privacy matters!

As Black folks, our search histories and the information collected on us determines our economic viability, allowing realtors and developers to decide what apartments and homes are shown to us. This is the new and unfortunately, fully legal, redlining.

On your November ballot, Prop 24 seeks to put an end to this kind of discrimination and abuse of our most private information. Prop 24 creates new rights to stop businesses from using our sensitive personal information, including our health and financial data. It expands on current state law, creating a new special category of Sensitive Personal Information, which includes items such as a consumer’s race or ethnicity (or their health status, religion, sexual orientation, etc). This would prevent rideshare companies and others from the collection and use of racial and ethnic data to target ads every time they get in hot water, like the misleading one from Lyft featuring the voice and words of Maya Angelou targeted to our communities.

Prop 24 will also take the job of enforcement out of the hands of an underfunded State Attorney General, creating an agency, the California Privacy Protection Agency, with an annual operating budget of $10 million to protect consumer rights and to give us as consumers control over our personal data. That’s enough to hire a team of investigators and lawyers to hold even the biggest of tech companies, who make billions off our data, accountable for their discriminatory practices and massive data breaches.

Additionally, Prop 24 creates a brand-new right to learn about whether a business is ‘profiling’ a consumer, and if they are doing so, they must disclose meaningful information about how the algorithm doing the profiling works. Plus, it allows consumers to stop such profiling. This will help prevent us as consumers from seeing only certain jobs or ads because of our race. And it would limit the ability of realtors, banks, and others to racially profile us online.

I hope you will join me, the California NAACP, State Controller Betty Yee, former Presidential candidate Andrew Yang, the California Professional Firefighters, Consumer Watchdog, AFSCME, and faith leaders from across the state in protecting our consumer data NOW and voting YES on Prop 24!

Will Black privacy matter in California? The power to ensure it does is in your hands.

You can learn more about Prop 24 at www.caprivacy.org.

Sean Dugar is a respected political and social justice leader. He’s the first African-American man elected to the Democratic National Committee from California in over 20 years and has been an active leader in the NAACP and other social justice organizations for nearly two decades.

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