Antitrust, UCL and Privacy

Competition: Spring 2019, Vol 29, No. 1

SOCIAL MEDIA, RIGHT TO PRIVACY AND THE CALIFORNIA CONSUMER PRIVACY ACT

By Dominique-Chantale Alepin1

I. INTRODUCTION

By the spring of 2018, media and consumer outrage over social media misuse of personal information had reached fever pitch. On March 17, 2018, three news organizations including the New York Times, published stories revealing that Cambridge Analytica had harvested the personal data of millions of people’s Facebook profiles without their consent and used it for political purposes.2 It was a watershed moment in the public understanding of how much personal data was being stored on social media, and the use and misuse of that data.

In California that spring, the group "Californians for Consumer Privacy" had been putting together a sweeping privacy initiative for presentation on the ballot for California voters. Given the mounting concern over the use and misuse of personal data, the initiative quickly garnered enough signatures—629,000—nearly twice the required minimum to appear on the ballot statewide in the November 2018 election.3

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