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Backers of an initiative that would allow consumers to control their personal information have received authorization to begin gathering signatures, Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced.

What the authors have dubbed “The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018,” would give California consumers the right to know what categories of personal information a business has collected about them and their children and whether a business has sold the personal information or disclosed it for a business purpose and to whom.

The initiative would also require a business to disclose to a California consumer if it sells any of the consumer’s personal information and allowing a consumer to tell the business to stop selling his or her personal information.

Businesses would be prevented from denying, changing or charging more for a service if a California consumer requests information about the business’ collection or sale of the consumer’s personal information, or refuses to allow the business to sell the consumer’s personal

information.

Businesses would be held accountable if a consumer’s personal information is compromised as a result of a security breach arising from the business’s failure to take reasonable steps to protect the security of consumers’ sensitive information.

The initiative makes any person or business that intentionally violates it may be liable for a civil penalty of up to $7,500 for each offense.

If the initiative were to become law, it would result in increased costs, potentially reaching the low tens of millions of dollars annually, to state and local governments from implementing and enforcing the measure, some or all of which would be offset by increased penalty revenue or settlement proceeds authorized by the measure, according to an analysis made by the Legislative Analyst’s Office and Department of Finance.

The analysis also found there would be an unknown impact on state and local tax revenues due to economic effects resulting from new requirements on businesses to protect consumer information.

Valid signatures from 365,880 registered voters — 5 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the 2014 general election — must be submitted by June 18 to qualify the measure for the November ballot, Padilla said.

—City News Service

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