How California is Building the Nation’s First Privacy Police

How California is Building the Nation's First Privacy Police- police privacy laws -  iStock

The internet might appear too big a place to control the quality of a company’s data handling. If we look closely, we might have to pause and ask, “is this true?” There is a lot of surveillance taking place on the internet. This surveillance allows companies to monitor the activities of online users, track them directly with cookies, or track them indirectly through artificial intelligence, etc.

Moreover, if companies can achieve all of these, isn’t it possible to devise ways to keep them in line? Not just through privacy laws as those already exist, but through another potent means. This must have been the recurring question in the mind of Ashkan Soltani, the head of California’s new online privacy regulator.

After engaging his thoughts on this crucial issue, Ashkan had his brainchild – the privacy police. The ‘privacy police’ is a bureaucratic approach to police privacy laws. The privacy police, a small privacy agency that is not operating yet, launched with the help of the California State Horse Racing Board. In addition, there are advertising agencies, digital marketing agencies, and public relations agencies, so it wouldn’t hurt to set up an agency that monitors businesses that handle customers’ data with a more stringent approach. 

Ashkan’s privacy police agency will be the first of its kind not only in California but in America. It envisages regulating customer data usage by big corporations like Facebook, Google and others who collect customer data. 

To move forward with the agency plans, Ashkan discussed with Scott Chaney how to handle remote work and hire team members in the pandemic. Chaney describes the agency as a state department. However, it would be pleasant to say the agency will serve the people just as the police department, fire department, etc. 

The agency, called the California Privacy Protection Agency, will hire more than 30 people to achieve its goals of implementing California’s privacy law. The employees will work on a $10 million annual budget. The creation of this agency indirectly will supply jobs to California citizens and serve as a platform to further exhibit data privacy and protection skills for those with years of practice.

The California Privacy Protection Agency will address privacy issues neglected by legislators in the state. It will oversee how rules governing the global internet are set and control those who set them. One of the reasons the agency will succeed is because it identifies with the 2018 state privacy law, which gives customers the power to ask websites to delete their data upon request. In addition, the agency has a high possibility of succeeding at its feat. This is because it has the support of privacy activists, who want it to fulfill their mandates as outlined in the 2020 adjusted privacy provisions.

Amid the various doubts that some express about the agency’s budgeting, its debut task will be to turn the broad state privacy law into something better structured and understandable. It will also oversee how data is used to run target ads and how algorithms use personal information to make automated decisions. Plus, the agency will support the state government in enforcing laws that require businesses to respect the privacy settings users set in their browsers.  

Furthermore, the agency will receive cybersecurity audit reports from businesses. Before that, the agency will inform businesses what data the audit report must contain. In response to the plans of this agency, Google requested that the agency provide rules, which they expressed as “flexibility for businesses to respond to consumer requests in a manner that prioritizes substance over form.” Through its spokesman, Jose Castenada, Google also admitted to continuously engaging in activities that guarantee their users’ privacy. 

Ashkan’s agency plans to pick the brains of privacy experts and academics to guide their actions and decisions. Ashkan Soltani described the agency as progressing even though a lot still needs to be done when he said, “we’re building the car while we drive it.”

How Zendata can help with the Bureaucratic Side of your Business

If your business operates within a state, adhering to the privacy laws in that state is non-negotiable. For instance, if your business is in California, it can’t evade compliance with the CCPA (California Customer Privacy Act). Likewise, it must protect the privacy rights of California citizens who live outside the state but still your business products and services.

Complying with state privacy laws can be difficult. However, non-compliance can cause a painful aftermath. Therefore, compliance with state privacy laws is an obligation. Perhaps you are caught on the web of finding privacy laws hard to comprehend or adhere to; we can help you out. 

At Zendata, we have a wealth of knowledge and technologies to assist your privacy journey. Moreover, we are committed to helping people unleash and manage the bureaucratic sides of their businesses.