Overshadowed by the Presidential race, data rights and privacy scored meaningful victories on Tuesday. As consumer understanding of how important controlling their personal information grows, they are increasingly taking control of it. Not just limited to protecting information about themselves and their families, their demand for rights and protections are extending to their possessions and expanding their rights as to who can access their data and under what circumstances. While some of the ballot issues were focused on governments’ use of individuals’ data, businesses should take note of these trends, and how consumer sentiment has become more protective while touching on far more aspects of their daily life.
Here are some of the more interesting results from this year’s election:
Massachusetts: Question 1 from this year’s ballot proposed an update to their “Right to Repair Law” which addressed access to data about vehicles. Previously owners could not access information about vehicles they owned, limiting their ability to use independent repair facilities. Starting in 2022, cars sold in Massachusetts will have to be equipped with a standardized open data platform that vehicle owners and independent repair facilities may access to retrieve mechanical data and run diagnostics through mobile-based applications. Approved by 74.9% of Massachusetts voters, this decision provides consumers with rights to access and control over data associated with a product they own.
California: Proposition 24, also known as the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) was designed to address some of the perceived shortcomings of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) compared to the EU’s GDPR. Among other changes, Proposition 24 addressed new and enhanced rights to not process individual’s data for marketing and advertising, rights of rectification (correcting inaccurate information), rights of erasure, and protections for minors. It also establishes the California Privacy Protection Agency (CPPA) as a recognized authority with jurisdiction to implement and enforce the consumer data laws. 56.1% of California voters approved this change to CCPA.
Maine: The city of Portland, Maine has banned the city, its officials, and departments from collecting, storing, or using facial recognition on any members of the public joining San Francisco (CA), Oakland (CA), Boston (MA), Cambridge (MA), and Portland (OR).
Michigan: 89.0% of Michigan voters approved a state constitutional amendment requiring a search warrant to access a person’s electronic data and electronic communications. As increasingly sensitive information about individuals is collected, stored, and communicated in digital formats, opportunities for misuse and abuse have grown. This amendment recognizes data as valuable and private, and accords it protections as outlined in the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Bill of Rights.
Now with the election (mostly) behind us, hopefully one of the many federal data protection bills will move beyond committee and be brought to a vote. In the meantime, as local and state governments enact legislation to protect consumer rights, businesses will need to keep abreast of these changes and update with data collection and processing policies, marketing applications, and consider how their relationships with consumers need to evolve to account for these changes.