Skip to Content
Tech policy

California’s new online privacy law could be huge for the US

June 29, 2018

The California Consumer Privacy Act was passed unanimously yesterday after being introduced just one week ago.

Why the quick turnaround? Both state houses rushed the bill through to prevent an initiative from being put on November’s statewide ballot that called for even stricter regulations. The law emulates the EU’s recently passed GDPR.

What do the laws do: Californians will be able to see what data companies hold on them, request that their information be deleted, demand that it not be passed on to third parties, and, under some circumstances, even sue if it’s not handled appropriately. The regulations also limit denials of service based on unwillingness to have personal data tracked.

The national impact: It’s likely most companies affected by the new law won’t create a special service just for users in California. “I think it’s going to set the standard across the country that legislatures across the country will look to adopt in their own states,” Democratic state senator Bob Hertzberg told the Washington Post.

But … The laws don’t go into effect until 2020. That gives tech companies a long time to lobby against the regulations and potentially strip out the toughest measures.

Deep Dive

Tech policy

hired guns concept
hired guns concept

The secret police: A private security group regularly sent Minnesota police misinformation about protestors

There are 13 private security guards for every one police officer in downtown Minneapolis, but these groups are far less regulated than police departments.

censorship of online docs concept
censorship of online docs concept

A million-word novel got censored before it was even shared. Now Chinese users want answers.

After a writer was locked out of her novel for including illegal content, Chinese web users are asking questions about just how far the state’s censorship reaches.

security cameraa
security cameraa

The world’s biggest surveillance company you’ve never heard of

Hikvision could be sanctioned for aiding the Chinese government’s human rights violations in Xinjiang. Here’s everything you need to know.

Mifiprex pill
Mifiprex pill

Where to get abortion pills and how to use them

New US restrictions could turn abortion into do-it-yourself medicine, but there might be legal risks.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.