Slate of Bills Aimed at Online Protection Signed by California Governor

The bills include protection against identity theft and personal data tracking.

by / September 30, 2013

California legislators have taken on several issues related to protecting online privacy. In a series of bills signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, residents of the state now enjoy better protections against identity theft and personal data tracking. Last week, Gov. Brown signed a third measure that allows minors to delete online activity.

According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, two separate pieces of legislation require state agencies, private business and local jurisdictions to notify people when personal information, like user names and passwords, has been breached.

"Many consumers now conduct their day-to-day personal business online, including banking and paying bills, which creates more opportunities for sophisticated cybercriminals to access and steal their personal information," Sen. Ellen M. Corbett, author of SB 46, told the Times.

Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi authored a bill signed by Brown that requires websites to notify users if they use tracking technology to gather data about users' online activity. While some Web browsers offer "do not track" options, sites aren't legally obligated to comply. Called a first step, the new law will notify users if sites or apps are honoring "do not track" requests.

Another recently signed piece of legislation aims to give added protections to minors who may wish to delete online activity. Bradley Shear, an Internet privacy and social media lawyer, told ABC News that a lot of companies already give users power over their own content.

"Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all provide people the means to delete content," said Shear. "But not all digital platforms do. I think the law forces companies to really incorporate privacy into their design, rather than as an afterthought."