Noozhawk: Jackson introduces bill to protect online privacy when using a credit card

April 18, 2013

State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, has introduced a bill that would protect consumers’ privacy when using a credit card to purchase songs, shows and other downloadable content online.

Senate Bill 383 is a response to a recent California Supreme Court ruling (Apple v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County) that ruled that online merchants can ask for someone’s address, phone number, and other data when making credit card purchases.

SB 383 would close the loophole created by this decision by prohibiting a merchant from asking for any information other than what’s essential to combat fraud or identify theft, such as a customer’s ZIP code. It also requires that the online merchants securely destroy the personal information gathered when it is no longer needed for fraud protection. Significant privacy protections already exist for credit card purchases done through brick-and-mortar stores, but don’t apply to purchases online.

“Purchasing a song on iTunes shouldn’t mean ‘ilose my privacy.’ Whether you’re using a credit card in a store, or online, the privacy protections should be the same,” Jackson said. “This becomes even more vital as we make more purchases online, and we become more aware of how our privacy can be compromised and our personal information can be misused.”

“Privacy should not be eliminated when a credit card is used online, but unfortunately, that is the law today,” said Richard Holober, executive director of the Consumer Federation of California, one of the sponsors of the bill. “SB 383 eliminates this double standard, and gives online shoppers the same privacy rights that California consumers enjoy when they use a credit card at a store.”

Current state law, known as the Song Beverly Credit Card Act, prohibits brick-and-mortar retailers from collecting and recording a customer’s personal identifying information as a condition of accepting credit card payments, but the law does not apply to online transactions.

SB 383 is expected to be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee in April.