updated 09:05 pm EDT, Tue April 2, 2013
Companies could be forced to hand over data
The California State Assembly is set to consider a new bill, the "Right to Know Act of 2013," that may force companies to disclose personal data. Supported by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, the proposal (PDF) would require companies to provide copies of all data collected on its customers, including a list of third parties with which the personal data has been shared.
"The new proposal brings California's outdated transparency law into the digital age, making it possible for California consumers to request an accounting of all the ways their personal information is being trafficked--including with online advertisers, data brokers, and third-party apps," the EFF wrote in a blog post.
California law currently enables customers to demand limited records regarding which companies have been sharing contact information for marketing purposes, however companies are not forced to disclose details surrounding other types of data and how it is being used or stored.
To protect small companies from the burden of compliance costs and excessive requests, the bill provides several safeguards. Companies can anonymize or delete data to ensure nothing is retained with any identifying information, while requests from individuals only need to be addressed once every 12 months.
"Lots of people around the world already enjoy these rights," the EFF added. "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."