The Road to Hell is paved with Good Intentions – California is at It Again

Once again California has taken a leadership role in addressing privacy issues by making things worse.

One of the top problems we have with fixing privacy law in the world is the compulsion of states, nations and super-national groups to act on their own in creating privacy laws. 

At some point it’s going to be unaffordable to conduct business across state, national and super-national borders.  For that matter, it’s going to be unaffordable to try to locate the borders.  Governments’ aggressive assertion of jurisdiction beyond their borders with respect to privacy matters makes it a little tricky to know when borders are crossed under applicable law.

There is now a ballot initiative in California that, if successful, would amend the California Constitution to require permission from an individual to disclose that individual’s personal information.  Well, I think that’s what it is intended to say – they’ve got that special kind of California drafting problem we’ve discussed here in the past. 

This is the initiative:

It is a given that getting things done takes longer when more people are involved – especially when those people are politicians and bureaucrats.  It is also a given that getting to a clear and effective result is difficult in such circumstances – no matter how the effort is made.

However, the fact that a problem is hard to solve shouldn’t be an invitation to make it worse.  Adding more conflicting law isn’t going to solve anything.

We’ll discuss the drafting problems at another time.  In the meantime, we have to make note of the use of the term “personally identifying information” in the initiative.  As you know, we here at Big Data and the Law have a great dislike for the term “personally identifiable information.”  “Personally identifying information” isn’t any better.  It means “I am personally identifying information.” 

California – work with me people.






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