The state of California is considering a new law that would help protect your privacy while online. This move would make California the leader in online privacy in the United States. Ring of Fire’s Mike Papantonio and Farron Cousins discuss this.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             The state of California’s considering a new law that would help protect your privacy while online. This move would make California the leader in US online privacy rights. Go California.

Farron Cousins:                  This is a phenomenal piece of legislation, it really is. This California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 is what they’re calling it, and the reason this even came about is because a wealthy Californian was at a party where he met a Google employee. I think he was higher up in the ladder but they were talking about online privacy and he said, “do you guys really know that much about people?” And the Google employee said, “if you knew how much we knew about you, you would faint.”

So he started this big movement to get this law in there. The law makers listened, they’ve drafted it, and basically what it does is, it says, if you go to a website they have to expressly say on there, we’re going to sell your data unless you click this button to say no we can’t. And that is huge because people don’t realize any website you go to, that’s pulling your data and then it can be sold. The US is one of the worst countries in the world right now for online privacy.

Mike Papantonio:             Europe is so far ahead on this, they’re saying look, why are going to put our citizenry at risk? I mean, we’re talking about at risk. Why are we going to put them at risk so Facebook, or whoever, can make more money on that information. Information is power right? The more information that you have the theory is, the more power you hold. So there’s everybody looking to hold that power. They want to know, what car you want to drive? They want to know all these details about you so they can pop up ads all over the place. They know it’s a money issue.

So California has made a policy decision. This is a public policy decision. They’ve said that people’s private rights are more important than the economic benefit to corporations. Now what we’re going to see in that argument, that’s the dichotomy, it’s very clear, the lines set in the sand. The argument that we’re going to hear from the Facebook types is, oh golly gee, A, we’re not abusing this, we’re using it to make our system better. Which is a lie. But we’re also going to hear what we call the commerce clause argument aren’t we?

We’re going to hear them saying that by doing this to California, we’re over here on the West Coast, but by doing this to California there’s no way you can just pinpoint California, and just do this in California. You can’t just take a partial IP address and say we’re just going to do this in California. It’s going to affect the entire nation. So they’re going to say that this is going to be commerce clause issue. That California’s decision to do this is interfering with national commerce.

Farron Cousins:                  Well yeah absolutely, and that’s one of the things that’s scary about this, that could get it struck down, is that as you said they don’t know necessarily where you’re at, and they can’t redirect an IP to a different version of a website because they can’t make those kind of calculations and algorithms that quickly.

So if I’m in Florida and I go to this website, it’s going to have that disclaimer there because California law requires it, and they don’t know where I’m accessing this from. So the best we can really hope for is that not only does this go through and pass because it’s going to be on the ballot this year in California, but that when challenged it survives. Because if it survives which I don’t know that it will, then we’re looking at maybe some national action on it.

Mike Papantonio:             It’s a tough road. They’re going to face some really steep constitutional arguments.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.