WA People’s Privacy Offered Public Comment in Historic CCPA Meeting Regarding Federal Data Privacy Bills

This morning, Thursday, July 28th, WA People’s Privacy signed in to offer comment in a special, and in our opinion historic, meeting of the CA Privacy Protection Agency Board regarding the issue of state preemption in The American Data Privacy Protection Act, or ADPPA, and other federal data privacy bills being considered.

California’s privacy laws have done much to change the landscape of data privacy in the US, and ADPPA would preempt CA from strengthening or passing stronger laws in the future related to consumer data. ADPPA would preempt all other states in the same way, but CA is unique in that its residents have been able to continue to push the needle on many different data privacy-related issues in counties and cities as well. The CPPA Board scheduled an urgent meeting in order to vote on whether to oppose ADPPA as jeopardizing parts of the CPPA, and whether and how to oppose state preemption.

The outcome, after the Board deliberated, heard public comments, and discussed, was that ADPPA threatens CA’s bills, and that the CPPA Board would indeed oppose preemption. In addition, we are so proud to have been part of an additional conversation amongst Board members about standing up for the rights of other states, counties and municipalities that resulted in the issuing of two affirmations. One, on the importance of recognizing that CA’s position is in community with other states, and two, that collaborating with other states to educate the public is an idea that they support!

Here are the comments offered by WA People’s Privacy founder, Maya Morales:

My name is Maya Morales, and I’m an organizer zooming in from WA state, and I want to thank you all so much for your work.

After working to pass several municipal ballot initiatives with a group of other organizers in 2021, including a privacy-protecting law, I founded an organizing entity called WA People’s Privacy with sights on passing strong data privacy laws and restrictions on surveillance in both WA state, and possibly other states.

WA organizers have worked very hard to stop a weak bill from passing in our state. Not only do Washington residents value privacy, the good majority of us also value the right to access abortion and gender affirming healthcare, the right to public assembly, and environmental and climate justice work. These are ALL activities currently under threat in our nation. When I learned that the ADPPA would preempt stronger laws; I immediately realized that both CA and WA state would be key players, and dug into deep readings of the bill with other WA privacy organizers.

People all over the country want the right to protect our privacy via the democratic process. In an ever-evolving landscape of surveillance threats and data harms that are continually growing and changing, states, counties and municipalities MUST be able to meet the needs of residents.

It’s important to be crystal clear about who preemption serves, and who it harms:
preemption privileges the needs of corporations over the needs of people.

This decision CA will make on preemption – including whether to advocate for a singular exemption for its own state, or whether to defend the rights of all states in this moment, in solidarity with people all over this nation – hits to the core of our democracy, and the rights and liberties we all hold valuable.

Tech and data harms have developed far faster than our laws have. The idea of preempting future laws, even if there are a few carve outs from that preemption, is deeply unwise.

And, it is important to note that it is unfavored and marginalized communities that will of course take the brunt of preemptive laws. Preemption will prevent states, counties and municipalities all over this nation from using the law to further protect immigrants of color, LGBTQIA+, Black and Indigenous and People of Color, poor and houseless individuals, and even those with issues of language and disability access that are not addressed by ADPPA.

I appreciate the comments Ms. de la Torre and Mr. Thompson have made regarding the gravity of this board’s decision (for other states, counties, municipalities) and I really appreciate your time.

Thank you all.