Jackson Bill To Protect Online Privacy Passes Off the Senate Floor

January 30, 2014

SACRAMENTO – A bill by State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) to protect consumer privacy when making certain online purchases passed off the Senate Floor today and is now headed to the State Assembly. The vote was 21-13.

Senate Bill 383 protects consumer privacy when customers are using a credit card to purchase songs, movies, apps, ebooks and other content that is downloaded online.
The bill allows merchants to only collect personal information from a consumer if that information is necessary to combat fraud or identity theft, and prohibits them from selling it or using it for marketing purposes unless the consumer explicitly gives them permission to do so. 

It also requires that merchants destroy the personal information in a secure manner when it is no longer needed.

“Californians believe so strongly in the right to privacy that, as the result of an initiative, it has been explicitly outlined in our state’s Constitution for more than four decades,” Jackson said. “We are living in a new digital age when that basic right is being challenged in ways we could never have imagined 40 years ago. Recent data breaches at Target, Nieman Marcus and other stores have unfortunately reminded all of us how vulnerable our personal information can be unless we put safeguards in place to protect it.”

Jackson added, “This measure is a balanced approach that ensures that when it comes to purchasing content that is downloaded online, our Constitutional right to privacy remains intact.” 

Significant privacy protections already exist for credit card purchases through brick-and-mortar stores, but don’t apply to purchases online.

Senate Bill 383 would close a large gap created by a California Supreme Court ruling last year (Apple v. The 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.

“Senate Bill 383 will protect consumers from the invasion of their privacy by big tech companies and add badly needed safeguards against identity theft,” said Richard Holober of the Consumer Federation of California, the bill’s sponsor. “SB 383 simply requires online merchants to play by the same privacy rules that apply to brick-and-mortar stores.”

Jackson represents the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.