Skip to content

May 31, 2002

For More Information, Contact:
Kristina Loquist at (916) 651-4011


SACRAMENTO – Assemblyman Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Privacy, announced today that his legislation to enhance online privacy protection was narrowly passed by the 80-member State Assembly (42-28) and is headed to the State Senate for consideration. 

Assembly Bill 2297 requires all entities that collect personal information online to conspicuously post a privacy policy stating what information they collect and with whom they share the information. It also requires that entities must notify consumers if their information may have been compromised as the result of a breach in that entity’s security.

“Although most legitimate online businesses post privacy policies on their website, not all do,” said Simitian. “Vast numbers of online users are asked to provide personal and sometimes sensitive information with no assurances as to how that information will be handled. Worse still, when breaches in security do occur, online users who’ve shared confidential information are often not informed and are therefore unable to protect themselves. My goal is to provide protection for consumers.”

“AB 2297 provides meaningful privacy protections that will help foster the continued growth of the internet economy,” explains Simitian, who was recently named High Tech Legislator of the Year by the American Electronics Association.  “Many consumers refuse to do business online because they have little protection against abuse,” continued Simitian.  “This bill provides such protection by allowing individuals to rely on a company’s posted policy, and should provide consumers with greater comfort about doing business online.”

While the bill’s provisions were characterized as “modest” by most observers, it nonetheless was the subject of aggressive lobbying and barely made it off the Assembly Floor. “It’s uphill,” observed Simitian, “no question about it. But this was a critical first step.”

“My goal here is simple,” said Simitian.  “Make sure online users know what their privacy protections are.  Make sure those guarantees are honored; and when security is breached, make sure that online users know it, so they can protect themselves.”

Assembly Bill 2297 is also supported by Attorney General Bill Lockyer, the Consumer Federation of California, and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. It will be heard by the Senate by August.