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California AG supports bill extending the privacy of the consumer protection

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – the California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Monday endorsed a bill that would extend the new privacy law, allowing consumers to sue companies about the handling of personal data, despite months of tech lobbying against such a step.

FILE PHOTO: California Attorney General Xavier Becerra speaks at a media conference in Los Angeles, California, USA August 2, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

California data privacy law, passed last year, imposes a fine of up to € 7,500 on large companies for the deliberate release of the data collection or the removal of data from the user at the request of or for the selling of others’ data without permission.

Under the law, set to take effect next year, consumers can file complaints with the attorney general about alleged violations, but may sue only in the event of a breach of security. The new law, introduced in the state legislature on Friday, would allow them to complain about the alleged violations.

“As written, the law gives California consumers new rights, but denies them the ability to… defend themselves in the court of law,” Becerra said at a joint press conference with California state Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, who is the author of the bill.

Various tech lobbying groups have told Reuters that the granting of a broad consumer privacy litigation is one of the few legislative proposals from the industry will be faithful struggle in san francisco, and Washington.

The California Chamber of Commerce has said that even the current privacy act “will lead to a barrage of shakedown lawsuits, as companies are confronted with such a substantial liability will be used in the immediate scheme, regardless of the strength of their legal defense.”

Friday, the bill also would delete a provision in the law allowing companies the time to “cure” the alleged violations within 30 days without payment of a penalty.

In addition, businesses no longer have the right to have the advice of the California attorney general on the question of whether it is in compliance with the law. Instead, the attorney general’s office would publish general guidance on how to comply.

“We don’t give free legal advice,… paid by the taxpayers,” said Becerra.

Many business groups are pushing for a national law that would replace law of the state for the California Consumer Privacy Law shall enter into force on Jan. 1, 2020.

Reporting by Katie Paul and Paresh Dave; Editing by Dan Grebler

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