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Governor must weigh in on state’s right to shield personal data

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Sacramento Bee

Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Morain writes that the next governor needs to defend a state’s right to protect personal data.

In California, privacy is a fundamental right. This state has a constitutional amendment identifying privacy as inalienable. And for better or worse, legislators don’t see themselves as potted plants. Some actually care about state law. All that means the next governor will grapple with privacy or lack of it right here in Sacramento.

“States often have to lead to get attention at the federal level,” said Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto,  the Legislature’s most prolific author of bills that seek to provide at least a thin veil of privacy. Simitian helped push a first-in-the-nation requirement that companies tell us when a security breach has spewed our personal information into other people’s hands. Because of a 2004 Simitian bill, California requires companies doing business in the state to post privacy policies on their websites. Lately, Simitian has sought to limit the misuse of radio frequency identification. Now Simitian is carrying legislation to protect people who use FasTrak to pay bridge tolls.

View the full story (Sacramento Bee)